Chinese Appliance Imports to Korea Increase 25 Percent
Feb 18, 2004
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An influx of low-end Chinese home appliances to Korea increased by 25 percent last year from 2002, according to a report from the Electronic Industries Association of Korea (EIAK).

EIAK said that South Korea imported U.S. $977.5 million in Chinese electronics products, such as audio equipment, camcorders, and cassette players in 2003, up 25.2 percent from $788.7 million a year ago.

Chinese goods accounted for 27.9 percent of Korea's total home appliance imports last year, up 2 percentage points from 2002.

Armed with cheap labor and strong price competitiveness, Chinese electronics makers are making fast inroads into the Korean market, consolidating its dominance in the low-end electronics market segments.

China is now the second largest home appliance exporter to South Korea after Japan, whose exports amounted to $1.36 billion last year. U.S. home appliance exports to South Korea stood at only $322 million in 2003.

Chinese home appliance exports to Korea has grown 17-fold during the past 11 years, up from $57.4 million in 1992 to $134 million in 1994, and from $426.1 million in 1997 and to $666.4 million in 2001.

By item, South Korea imported audio equipment the most, worth $97.8 million, followed by audio speakers ($93.22 million) and camcorders ($78.32 million).

China is also starting to sell higher-end electronics products in Korea such as digital TVs and flat-panel screens, EIAK said.

Imports of high-end digital TVs such as projection TVs, plasma display panel (PDP) TVs and liquid crystal display (LCD) TVs, amounted to more than $3.6 million last year. Until 2002, no digital TVs were shipped to Korea from China.

Meanwhile, beginning in April, Haier, a Chinese home appliance maker, will begin selling refrigerators with its own brand name to the Korean consumers. Another Chinese electronics maker, TCL Corp., also recently started small-scale sales of its 29-in flat-panel TV sets through Carrefour's outlets. (Korea Times)

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