South Korea's net exports of goods through merchanting trade jumped 18.9 percent in 2016 from a year earlier due to brisk sales of smartphones, central bank data showed Monday.
The country's net exports of goods under a merchanting arrangement came to $9.46 billion in 2016, up $1.5 billion, according to data compiled by the Bank of Korea.
The increase is mostly driven by brisk sales of South Korea's smartphones built in overseas plants.
Profits from smartphone sales pushed up South Korea's net exports of goods under merchanting, a Bank of Korea official said.
The ratio of South Korea's smartphones made in overseas factories stood at about 80 percent in 2012, up from 16 percent in 2010.
Last year, Samsung Electronics Co., the world's largest manufacturer of smartphones, is said to have produced more than 90 percent of its smartphones abroad.
Experts said overseas production of smartphones could enhance price competitiveness and boost its share in global markets, though it has little effect on employment and investment at home. (Yonhap)