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Tesla Korea sales up 300 percent in 2020

This file photo provided by Tesla Motors shows the Model Y. (Tesla Motors)
This file photo provided by Tesla Motors shows the Model Y. (Tesla Motors)

Foreign companies doing business in South Korea fared well amid the pandemic last year, with electric carmaker Tesla reporting a whopping 300 percent increase in sales, a report showed Sunday.

According to data compiled and released by CEO Score, a local market researcher, the aggregate sales of the top 50 foreign-owned companies in Korea reached 21.8 trillion won ($18.76 billion) in 2020, up 15 percent from the previous year. Operating profits rose 42.2 percent to 1.2 trillion won.

The data is based on regular audit reports filed by the companies with local authorities.

The foreign firms’ gains are in contrast with a 0.2 percent drop in sales by the top 500 Korean companies last year. The Korean 500 saw their operating profit advance, but only by 5.4 percent from the previous year -- far below the gain of over 40 percent posted by the foreign top 50.

Among foreign companies, Tesla Korea stood out with big jumps in both revenue and operating profit. The US electric carmaker’s local unit logged 71.6 billion won in sales, up 295.9 percent from 2019. Its operating profit came in at 10.8 billion, marking a 429.9 percent increase from a year earlier.

Netflix Services Korea followed, reporting a 123.5 percent increase in sales and a 295.3 percent gain in operating profit. Its revenue was 415 billion won, while operating profit came in at 8.8 billion won.

Other strong performers include French luxury goods brand Louis Vuitton Korea, British consumer electronics maker Dyson Korea and Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo Korea.

Despite the gains, the foreign firms’ commitments to local investment or giving didn’t change much, the CEO Score report pointed out. Their investment spending, as a percentage of total revenue, shed 0.3 percentage points to 2.8 percent in 2020, while the ratio of donations remained the same at 0.04 percent of total sales.

From news reports (

By Korea Herald (
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