Recent Export Trends of Korea’s Mobile Phones Korea’s recent export trends of mobile phones revealed a 23 percent plunge year-on-year to a 16-year low last year, caused by sluggish growth in demand from China amid fiercer competition in the Chinese market.
Export volume for mobile phones amounted to $14.61 billion last year, down 23.2 percent or $4.42 billion compared with the previous year, according to the Ministry of Science and ICT and the Institute of Information & Communications Technology Planning & Evaluation.
The amount was considered the lowest in 16 years since 2002 in a time when South Korea achieved an export volume amounting to $11.36 billion for mobile phones.
The nation’s exports of mobile phones attained a record high in 2008, recording $33.44 billion and thus outpacing the existing mainstay semiconductor exports of $32.79 billion. And then exports started to fall below $30 billion in 2009, declining to $20 billion in 2017.
By region, mobile phone exports to China including Hong Kong decreased sharply by 37 percent to $4.3 billion on year last year amid fiercer competition with local rivals such as Huawei. For exports to the United States, recognized as the world’s premium phone market, it turned out that Korean exports fell by 10 percent to $5.05 billion, but the decline was relatively limited, permitting the U.S. market to replace China as the biggest market for South Korean mobile phones exports.
However, on the positive side, exports of semiconductors in 2018 grew to a record high of $128.15 billion, nearly nine times larger than exports of mobile phone exports.
Since South Korean smartphone companies appear to have suddenly lost their dominance of the world’s biggest mobile phone markets in recent years, manufacturers are forced to naturally position themselves to seek alternative tactics. These include launching new budget phone models to increase their global presence in emerging markets, and introducing high specifications such as a quad-lens camera, 5G network and foldable form factor to entice smartphone demand worldwide. (Source: KITA) | Blog Magazine of korean electronics, brands and Goods

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