The Korea Herald


Korea’s semiconductor exports hit record high

By Julie Kim Jackson

Published : Oct. 27, 2017 - 16:44

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Semiconductors export shares accounted for more than 16 percent of Korea‘s annual exports for the year, a record high for the industry, according to industry data on Friday.

Led by Samsung Electronics and SK hynix, the world’s leading chipmakers, the data showed that chip exports reached $70.4 billion from January to September, an increase of 55.6 percent compared to last year. The figure accounts for 16.4 percent of Korea’s total exports of roughly $430.1 billion, representing the highest percentage of exports for the first time in 17 years.

The export of semiconductors previously topped the country’s portion of total exports at 15.1 percent in 2000. Then fell to 12.6 percent last year before rebounding to its new record of 16.4 percent. 

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

Seoul’s fab investment this year has been assessed at $12.97 billion, up 68.7 percent from last year, and has outpaced the $12.73 billion for Taiwan, which had been No. 1 for the past five years, according to a report by Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International.

Samsung Electronics and SK hynix announced last month they would invest a combined 36.9 trillion won ($32.8 billion) in the industry by 2024. Samsung, the world’s leading chip provider, revealed the company plans to invest 21.4 trillion won, while SK hynix is set to invest 15.5 trillion won in the country’s burgeoning flash memory chip sector.

However, as local memory market has been heavily influenced by supply shortages driving the surge in global demand, experts are forecasting that new capital injections by semiconductor companies will lead to a reversal of supply and demand, with some predicting the global demand surge may hit a wall as soon as the middle of next year.

Along with record-high exports of semiconductors, exports by local venture startups are also en route to reach record highs.

According to the Korea International Trade Association on Friday, exports by Korean start-ups are forecast to reach $20 billion this year. Total venture exports accounted for $14.7 billion from January to September, up 14.6 percent compared to last year. 

By Julie Jackson (