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South Korea's Digital Goods Exports Grow in 2004
Jan 5, 2005
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In an update from a Jan. 3 article, South Korea's exports of digital products grew 29.5 percent from a year earlier to U.S. $96.7 billion in 2004, the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy said. The sector's trade surplus came to a record $44.8 billion, up 48.2 percent in the previous year, the Ministry said. The size is noteworthy since South Korea's trade surplus for the entire year is estimated at $29.7 billion.

Imports in the sector also grew 16.8 percent from a year earlier to $51.9 billion. The ministry attributed the sharp rise in exports and favorable trade balance to an improved brand image for South Korean goods such as mobile phones, Plasma Display Panel (PDP) TVs, and semiconductors.

Digital appliances and computer chips accounted for 38 percent of all South Korean exports last year. The triple-digit jump in sales of digital appliances in the Netherlands, Finland, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere was a testament to their competitiveness, the Ministry said. It also said South Korean PDP TVs were making rapid inroads in market share as more countries introduce digital broadcasting.

Sales of semiconductors rose by 35.8 percent to $26.5 billion, while sales of mobile phones and PDP TVs were up 40.2 percent and 48.8 percent, respectively, in the 1-year period. The country also achieved sturdy growth in exports to main trading partners, including the United States, China, and Japan, despite unfavorable conditions such as the won's appreciation against the U.S. dollar and high oil and raw material prices.

Exports to the United States were up 25.9 percent to $18.1 billion, while those to China and Japan were up 41.1 percent and 18 percent, respectively. The Ministry said that mobile phone sales were one of the leading factors behind sales growth, with exports to Europe jumping 46.5 percent to $19.2 billion in 2004. The Ministry also said that exports in this sector for December grew 2.8 percent from a year earlier to $7.7 billion.

Overseas sales of PDP TVs, refrigerators, and washing machines were on the rise, but there was negative year-on-year growth for such products as computers and microwave ovens. Total digital industry imports for the month were $4.4 billion, with sharp increases in mobile phone and projection TV imports. (Yonhap)

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