South Korea's tech ministry said on Monday that the country's tech export for January increased by 20.7% compared to a year prior, with the uptick buoyed by high demand for semiconductors.
The Ministry of Science and ICT said the export of tech goods reached $19.65 billion during the month, its highest figure for January, while import of similar goods was $12.32 billion.
The ministry noted that the trade surplus was achieved despite the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 and the increase in prices of raw materials.
Of that total, semiconductor export accounted for $10.9 billion, an increase of 24% from the same month in 2021. The ministry said it marked the ninth straight month of semiconductor exports exceeding $10 billion. Memory semiconductors chipped in $6.5 billion of that figure, while system semiconductors tallied $3.87 billion.
Display panel exports accounted for $2.35 billion, an increase of 13.3% from a year prior. Export of computers and associated products was $1.53 billion, a steep increase of 54.3% from a year prior.
The export of handsets dropped by 12.9% year-on-year, however, to $1.04 billion.
The global economy is in the midst of a chip shortage that has negatively affected manufacturers of finished goods. On the flip side, the shortage has benefitted chipmakers such as TSMC, Toshiba, and Intel that have all expanded their production capacity to meet the high demand. Locally, semiconductor giants Samsung and SK Hynix also reported high annual profits last year due to the same reason.