In April 2018, Korea's exports of information, communications and technology (ICT) products totaled USD 17.2 billion, reaching a new monthly high for April. The figure marked a year-on-year rise of 10.9 percent and a double-digit growth for the 17th month in a row. The expansion was led by brisk sales of semiconductors and computers from tech giants in Korea. In terms of monthly growth, however, ICT exports slowed to 10.9 percent in April from 18.6 percent in March and 11.9 percent in February.
The nation's exports of semiconductors surged by 36.6 percent from a year before to USD 9.89 billion, the second-highest monthly figure behind USD 10.98 billion recorded in March 2017. Strong global demand for Korean computers and memory chips offset weak sales of displays and mobile phones. Outbound shipments of Korean displays fell by 13.5 percent to USD 2 billion in April amid fierce competition in the liquid crystal display (LCD) market. Sluggish demand for organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) also drove the decline in display exports. Likewise, Korean mobile phone makers saw their exports plunge by 42.2 percent to USD 1.05 billion due to intense competition with Chinese players and an increase in their overseas production.
By region, Korea's ICT exports to the European Union (EU) and China shot up while shipments to Vietnam and the United States declined. Shipments to China continued to grow to USD 9.42 billion in April, up 25.5 percent from a year earlier, on the back of upbeat sales of semiconductors, computers and peripherals. Exports to the EU increased by 9.3 percent to USD 930 million, led by semiconductors. Mobile phone exports to the US were down 40.8 percent, bringing the total ICT exports to the country down by 7.7 percent to USD 1.52 billion. Shipments of displays to Vietnam increased by 7.5 percent to USD 580 million, but exports of semiconductors and mobile phones to the country fell on slowing demand, leading to a 12.3 percent decline in overall ICT exports to the country.
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