​Korean IT exports hit 14-month high due to increased chip demand

South Korea's IT export recovered in November after a 14-month decline thanks to a rise in demand for semiconductors and OLED.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer

South Korea's IT export for November rose 3.3 percent compared to a year ago thanks to semiconductors and displays, the country's trade ministry has said.

The rise ends 14 straight months of decline caused by the rise of Chinese competitors and the global economic downturn.

Total IT export for the month was $14.8 billion, a rise of 3.3 percent from a year ago, while import was $8.08 billion, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.

Semiconductors contributed the lion's share with $5.79 billion, a rise of 11.6 percent year-on-year, thanks to rise in demand in mobile and servers and the price rise of DRAMs and NAND flashes.

Displays marked $2.47 billion, an increase of 3.1 percent, thanks to large demand for OLED panels and rising prices. Computers and SSDs contributed $660 million, a jump of 15.2 percent.

Handsets, however, fell 27.4 percent year-on-year to $2.09 billion due to the fallout from Samsung's Note 7 debacle.

The US was the largest destination for Korean IT goods, worth $1.48 billion, followed by Vietnam's $1.38 billion and China's $800 million.

Handset exports to the US fell 15.2 percent but semiconductors rose 3.8 percent.

Vietnam, where Samsung has its biggest handset factory, saw displays and semiconductors rise 174.6 percent and 38.9 percent, respectively. The rise is likely due to Samsung's ramping up of Galaxy S7 productions as well as from preparation for the Galaxy S8.

Handset exports to China fell a steep 42.1 percent -- Samsung is being squeezed by local competitors there -- but semiconductors rose 5.5 percent, as those same rivals are also Samsung's clients.

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