South Korea IT exports finally see rebound

After five months of decline, the country's IT exports bounced back in August to hit US$13.04 billion, but IT imports dropped by 12.8 percent year-on-year.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

After five months of decline amid an overall export slump, South Korea's IT exports finally bounced back in August to reach US$13.04 billion, although this was just a 0.1 percent increase from the year before.

Citing the Ministry of Knowledge Economy, Yonhap news agency on Tuesday reported that overall exports this year dropped 6.2 percent.

The news comes after IT exports fell 5.2 percent in the first half of this year, mainly due to weak demand from European consumers affected by the Euro crisis and falling prices of semiconductors and display panels, Yonhap reported in July.

The ministry said August marked a positive growth for the first time in six months, attributing the boost to increased shipments of display panels and system semiconductors. Export display panels reached US$2.83 billion, a 12.5 percent year-on-year increase, it said.

However, exports of mobile phones and computer memory chips dropped in August, which the ministry said was indicative of the continuing global economic slowdown and Euro debt crisis.

Shipments of mobile phones in August fell 26.6 percent year-on-year to US$1.52 billion, while computer memory chips dipped 0.4 percent to US$4.1 billion over the same period. The government said the drop in shipment was largely due to local manufacturers increasingly moving their production overseas.

South Korea remains the world's largest supplier of smartphones for five consecutive quarters, and accounted for 38.5 percent of all smartphones sold worldwide between April and June this year, the ministry said.

While IT exports made a turnaround, South Korea's IT imports in August dropped 12.8 percent from a year earlier to US$6.19 billion. This, the ministry said, widens the country's trade surplus in the IT sector to US$6.85 billion, compared to US$5.92 billion the year before.

Editorial standards