South Korea’s exports to Southeast Asia jumped 11.6 percent last year from a year earlier, becoming the largest export market for Asia’s fourth-largest economy for a second year, as big companies like Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Display Co. expanded business particularly in Vietnam, data showed Wednesday.
According to data released by Statistics Korea, Korea’s exports to Southeast Asia totaled $166.3 billion last year, up 11.6 percent from a year ago. Exports to Southeast Asia accounted for the largest 27.6 percent of the total. Southeast Asia includes 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Korea’s exports to 12 Southeast Asian countries have been on a rise in recent years. Exports totaled $119.3 billion in 2016, $149 billion in 2017, and $166.3 billion in 2018. The region became Korea’s largest export market for the first time in 2017, surpassing China at $142.1 billion.
Statistics Korea said that shipments to Southeast Asia jumped on strong demand for chips and displays amid increased smart device production. Information and technology (IT) firms including Samsung Electronics and LG Display operate facilities in Vietnam.
Samsung Electronics Co.`s factory in Vietnam.
By business size, large companies exported $113.1 billion worth of goods to Southeast Asia largest year, up, accounting for 68 percent of the total, followed by mid-size companies $26.3 billion (15.8 percent), and small- and mid-size companies $26.9 billion (16.2 percent). Exports by large companies increased 21.4 percent last year from a year ago while those of mid-size firms fell 0.2 percent and small- and mid-size companies 8.5 percent.
Data showed that China was Korea’s second-largest export destination after Southeast Asia last year.
In 2018, Korea’s exports to China jumped 13.8 percent to $161.7 billion, taking up 26.8 percent of total exports. The United States was Korea’s third-largest export destination with $72.2 billion, accounting for 12 percent, followed by the European Union with $57.3 billion (9.5 percent), Japan with $30.3 billion (5 percent), Central and South America with $27.7 billion (4.6 percent), and the Middle East with $21.5 billion (3.6 percent).
By Kim Tae-joon and Lee Eun-joo
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