Korea’s exports of vehicles hit a record high during the first half of 2011, reaching $19.1 billion worth of cars, up 30.4% from a previous year. Today, Korean cars are among the most advanced in the world. The local market is dominated by Hyundai and its sister company Kia who hold 81 per cent of the market. Other manufacturers are GM Daewoo (7.3%), Samsung Renault (9.0%) and Ssangyong (2.1%).
Advanced Engineering Sector in South Korea
South Korea is the 12th largest economy in the world, has a population of 50 million and a predicted GDP
growth of 4.5 per cent in 2011. Despite the aerospace industry being small it has grown rapidly over the last
The cooperative relationships with Europe and the US, in the military and commercial sectors in
particular, have contributed greatly to this remarkable growth.
There is one major aircraft manufacturer; KAI who make both fixed wing and rotor aircraft and
have traditionally focused on defence. However, they are branching out into the civilian market
having successfully won a contract with Airbus UK to supply the main wings for the A350 over
the next 10 years.
Korea?s exports of vehicles hit a record high during the first half of 2011, reaching $19.1 billion
worth of cars, up 30.4% from a previous year. Today, Korean cars are among the most advanced
in the world. The local market is dominated by Hyundai and its sister company Kia who hold 81
per cent of the market. Other manufacturers are GM Daewoo (7.3%), Samsung Renault (9.0%)
and Ssangyong (2.1%).
Imports of EU parts and materials are on the rise and now account for 30 per cent of Korea?s
machine tool imports. Korea values high-end, sophisticated refined parts including wheels,
valves, generators and pumps. This demand has led to the industry expanding over the past few
The creation of a massive industrial complex in Changwon, Gyeongnam province, has played a
major role in developing this industry.
The Government is eager to develop the civil aircraft manufacturing industry in Korea to meet
global increase in demand for civil aircrafts. The project led by KAI, is in early stages of
development and Korea and is looking at int?l joint development for cost reduction and risk
To cope with the global green strategy, Korea carries out green aircraft R&D mainly led by the
Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI) in collaboration with the USA and UK.
In addition, Korea selected two MRO (Maintenance, Repair & Overhaul) centres, one in Busan
for both civil and defence aerospace and the other in Chungbuk area (Cheongju Int?l Airport) for
civil aerospace in late 2010.
As a result of the Airbus contract KAI is looking towards the UK aerospace industry in terms of
business partnership and technical collaboration.
Despite the local supply chain in this sector, Korea still requires foreign expertise in the fields of
design & product engineering and the development of new and green vehicles. Currently green
vehicle development is in high demand. Korea is looking at R&D collaboration for innovative
power train, components, gas turbine engines and lightweight materials technologies.
Korea is strengthening productivity through technical development and fostering advanced
technology to meet increased customer demand for high-tech machinery.
Latest export opportunities ? Aerospace
Latest export opportunities ? South Korea
Getting into the market
To compete in South Korea UK companies are recommended to have a capable local distributor,
licensee or franchise partner who has an established network in the market and extensive market
knowledge. A long-term perspective and a reliable partnership between supplier and their local
partner is one of the key factors in achieving success.
More about doing business in South Korea
Market intelligence is critical when doing business overseas, and UKTI can provide bespoke
market research and support during overseas visits though our chargeable Overseas Market
Introduction Service (OMIS).
To commission research or for general advice about the market, get in touch with our specialists
in country - or contact your local international trade team.
? Jiyoung Lee, British Embassy Seoul. Tel: +82 (2) 3210 5629 or Email:
Contact your local international trade team
UKTI runs a range of events for exporters, including seminars in the UK, trade missions to
overseas markets and support for attendance at overseas trade shows.
Latest events ? Aerospace
Annual Seoul Air Show
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters