Korea’s ICT exports hit all-time highs in 2022

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on January 12 that shipments of Korea’s information and communications technology (ICT) products in 2022 reached an all-time high of USD 233.3 billion, up 2.5 percent from 2021.

Despite the protracted Russia-Ukraine war and global economic slowdown, ICT exports achieved a trade surplus of $80.9 billion and took up 34.1 percent of Korea’s total annual exports. Imports went up 12.9 percent to $152.5 billion.

SMEs and middle-market companies (up 11.6 percent to $60.4 billion) in the ICT industry enjoyed growth for the third consecutive year, semiconductors (up 26.1 percent to $31.2 billion) at the helm.

Overall, demand for the second half of 2022 suffered a slump and displays, computers and peripherals decreased. In contrast, major export items like semiconductors, mobile phones, as well as promising items like OLED panels and secondary batteries, all improved in growth.

In spite of plummeting memory chip prices during the second half, total semiconductor exports for the whole ICT industry rose 1.7 percent to a record-breaking $130.9 billion. System chips broke through the $50.0 billion thresholds with highest ever record of $50.7 billion.

For displays, OLED panel exports (up 4.0 percent to $15.1 billion) increased for the third consecutive year, but annual growth rate inched down 1.0 percent due to LCDs’ reduced production levels and intensifying price competition.

Shipments of mobile phones (up 4.9 percent to $14.7 billion) grew on the backs of robust demand for parts, while sluggish demand for devices in general led to less shipments of finished products (down 14.3 percent to $4.2 billion).

Those of computers and peripheral devices stood at $17.3 billion, down by 0.5 percent year-on-year owing to worsening inflation and consumer sentiment.

ICT exports to most major regions expanded.

Outbound shipments to China (including Hong Kong) shrank 4.9 percent to $102.3 billion as zero-COVID lockdowns and halted production lines resulted in weak demand. Semiconductors and displays showed declines, but mobile phones (up 39.9 percent to $7.5 billion) saw demand for parts (up 46.3 percent to $7.4 billion) surge.

Exports to Vietnam rose 4.3 percent to $36.6 billion, surpassing $30 billion for the second consecutive year. Semiconductors (up 16.0 percent to $16.3 billion) and displays (up 2.9 percent to $12.9 billion) led the climb.

To the U.S., computers and peripherals (up 12.8 percent to $6.4 billion) and secondary batteries (up 50.4 percent to $4.1 billion) drove up ICT exports by 4.4 percent to a record-breaking $29.2 billion.

Shipments to the European Union (EU) totaled $13.7 billion, up 7.5 percent, thanks to demand for mobile phones (up 45.3 percent to $2.2 billion) and displays (up 67.8 percent to $0.5 billion).

The value of ICT goods shipped to Japan advanced 2.7 percent to $4.4 billion owing to double-digit growth of shipments of computers and peripherals (up 23.1 percent to $0.7 billion) and secondary batteries (up 35.0 percent to $0.5 billion).

ICT exports for the month of December (down 23.6 percent to $16.9 billion) declined from reduced demand across downstream industries and unit price falls for major items and destinations. Imports also dropped 10.9 percent to $11.8 billion.

Source: Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy

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