In the January-August period, outbound shipments of computer chips surged 52 percent on-year to $59.5 billion, the Korea International Trade Association said in a statement.
"If the country reports an average of $8 billion a month in semiconductor exports for the rest of the year, the overall value (of semiconductor exports) is poised to exceed $90 billion in 2017," the latest report showed.
In 2016, semiconductor exports reached $62.2 billion, down 1.1 percent from $62.9 billion a year earlier, it said.
In the past 40 years, Korea's semiconductor exports continued to grow an average of 15 percent annually and semiconductors accounted for 16 percent of the country's total exports in the first eight months in terms of value, KITA said.
South Korean chipmakers such as Samsung Electronics Co. and SK hynix Inc. have made "pre-emptive" investments in research and development activities to leave rivals far behind in terms of technology. This has helped drive up the demand for Korean chips and boosted chipmakers' bottom line.
But they are required to make additional investments in memory chips and explore a new growth driver as Chinese companies are rapidly catching up to their local rivals by making massive investments in semiconductor infrastructure. (Yonhap)