The IT sector accounts for 28% of the nation’s total export and the country has become one of the leading information economies in the world.
ICT Sector in South Korea
ξ South Korean government continues to stimulate exporting and attract foreign companies by
fostering economies identified as the new growth engines in ‘Green technology’, ‘High-tech
convergence’ and ‘Value added service’.
South Korea has a predicted GDP growth of 3.5 per cent in 2012. South Korea has a population
of 50 million and is ranked 8th in the ‘Ease of Doing Business 2012’ report by The World Bank.
The ICT sector is significant and very developed in South Korea. The IT sector accounts for 28%
of the nation’s total export and the country has become one of the leading information economies
in the world. South Korea is the number one market for manufacturing of LCD (Liquid Crystal
Displays), memory chips and smart phone manufacturing. According to ITU, South Korea is also
number one in ICT development (2011), and e-government readiness (2012).
ξ South Korea is the most connected country in the world with its broadband connections
and mobile network being the fastest in the world.
ξ Smartphone users are expected to exceed 30 million by August 2012.
The South Korean Government continues to stimulate exporting and attract foreign companies.
The government is fostering economies identified as the new growth engines in ‘Green
technology’, ‘High-tech convergence’ and ‘Value added service’
This covers renewable energy and related technologies, low-carbon energy technology, green
transportation systems and LEDs. The government has strongly led smart grid initiatives from
2009 and developed them into an intelligent power grid project. British companies in technology
driven energy areas will find opportunities in R&D collaboration with strong support from the
With Jeju test beds running for almost two years, the consortium leaders start to see the
importance of the massive data they have gathered. To transform all the different kinds of data
into meaningful information to value add imperative business decisions, the Korean companies
look for data analysis expertise. British companies in this area would find great opportunities in
talking to many smart grid companies in South Korea.
Broadcasting Communications Media
With the ‘digital switch over’ project, all analogue broadcasting systems will be digitalised by
the end of 2012. Accordingly, demand for broadcast-communications convergence technology,
services and content will be high. British companies with expertise in developing the next
generation of convergence networks, wireless communication and security, 3D and multiple
platforms technology for digital (smart) TV will find massive opportunities.
Content and Games
The content industry has grown by 14.6% in 2011 with 28.9% growth in export. Music and
games are the top two industries that contributed to this movement. With more than 60% of the
population using smart phones, mobile banking and other mobile commerce are big in the
market. UK companies in mobile advertising, cloud technology and mobile security software
companies would find opportunities in working with domestic companies. Similarly,
transforming cultural content into digital format and developing related software will keep
interest from the local companies.
Online and Mobile Games
In 2011 the games market was valued at about US$8 billion. Not only historically strong,
massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG), but also smart phone games
played a significant role in the growth. 2012 is expected to grow by 16% to more than US$9
billion. Serious games developers will find multiple opportunities with Korean partners in the
healthcare, education, military and education sectors.
Latest export opportunities in ICT sector
Latest export opportunities in South Korea
Getting into the market
The right approach to entering the South Korean market would be through collaboration. Rather
than exporting goods to the South Korean market, finding local partners to tackle third markets
together would be more probable in this complicated sector.
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.
ξ Sunjin Lee, British Embassy South Korea. Tel: +82 (0)2 3210 5592 or email:
ξ Clifford Bebb, British Embassy South Korea. Tel: +82 (0)2 3210 5621 or email:
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 in the ICT sector
Broadcast Worldwide 2012 (BCWW)
Date: 5-7Sep, 2012
Website address: www.bcww.kr/eng/main.asp
Korea Electronics Show 2012 (KES)
Date: 9-12Oct, 2012
Website address: www.kes.org/index.do?locale=en&
Korea Smart Grid Week 2012 (KSGW)
Date: 30Oct-2Nov, 2012
Website address: www.ksgw.or.kr/ver2_eng/main/main.php
Game star 2012 (Gstar)
Date: 8-11Nov, 2012
More about OMIS and other UKTI services for exporters