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Report: South Korea beats Japan in chips, smartphones

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A visitor looks at a Samsung Galaxy S10 smartphone at its showroom in Seoul. AFP

Report: South Korea beats Japan in chips, smartphones

In light of the aggravating trade dispute between South Korea and Japan, a report showed on Wednesday that significant revenue gaps remain in most industrial sectors between the two countries.

According to Seoul-based market research firm CEO Score’s survey on highest-grossing companies across 15 sectors as of last year, the revenue of Korea’s top three companies was only half of that of their Japanese competitors.

In the business categories ranging from semiconductors to telecommunications, the combined revenue of the three best-performing Korean companies was about $858.7 billion, while their Japanese counterparts posted over $1.7 trillion.

While the Korean companies outperformed their Japanese competitors in chipmaking and phone manufacturing businesses, the gap was huge in 13 other business sectors.

Samsung Electronics and SK hynix’s combined revenue was $113.6 billion, about seven times higher than that of Sony and Renesas Electronics. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics’ smartphone business revenue was 97.4 billion won ($80.2 million), more than 14 times larger than Sony and Kyocera.

However, the Korean companies were outperformed by the Japanese firms in other business sectors, including banking, retail, food, insurance, cars, auto components, telecommunications and medicine.

While the outcome appears to stem from the fact that Japan has a much bigger population than Korea, the Japanese companies have expanded their revenue gap.

The revenue gap between the Korean carmakers and their Japanese competitors expanded to $440.1 billion last year from $342.9 billion in 2014. Last year, the combined revenue of Hyundai Motor, Kia Motors, Renault Samsung and GM Korea was 15 per cent that of Toyota, Honda, and Nissan.

In the telecom industry, the gap expanded from $340 billion in 2014 to $440 billion last year. The combined revenue of Korea’s top three telecom firms – KT, SKT, LG Uplus – was $47 billion last year, compared with $239 billion of their Japanese counterparts.

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