South Korea’s exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products enjoyed their best January on record last month, according to state data.

The record was driven by growths in exports to five major destinations for ICT products – China, Vietnam, the US, EU, and Japan.

According to the Ministry of Science and ICT, South Korea’s outbound shipments of ICT products recorded $19.6 billion last month, up 20.7 per cent from $16.2 billion in January 2021 amid robust export performance since the first half of last year.

ICT product exports increased for the 10th consecutive month on the back of growing demand for items such as semiconductors, OLED TVs, and computer devices.

Last month’s figure outstripped the former January-high of $17.6 billion, posted in 2018. The daily average exports of ICT goods also recorded a record high of $890 million last month, based on figures for each January over the past years.

By export destination, shipments to mainland China and Hong Kong, rose by 24.3 per cent year-on-year, the EU by 16.1 per cent, Vietnam by 12.4 per cent, the US by 8.6 per cent, and Japan by 1.4 per cent.

China accounted for 46.8 per cent of South Korea’s total ICT exports. Vietnam was next with 16.9 per cent, followed by the US with 10.5 per cent, the EU with 5.3 per cent, Japan with 1.7 per cent, and others with 18.7 per cent.

Exports of semiconductors increased by 24.1 per cent year-on-year to post $10.8 billion, with outbound shipments of the item growing for 19 consecutive months, starting from July 2020.

Exports of TV displays increased by 13.3 per cent to $2.3 billion amid steady demand for organic light-emitting diodes. Shipments of the item rose for the 17th consecutive month.

The figure for TV display shipments to Japan grew by 27.5 per cent, the EU by 21.5 per cent, China by 20.4 per cent, and Vietnam by 6.7 per cent. But the figure for the US declined by 32.4 per cent.

Computers and computer devices surged by 54.3 per cent, though exports of mobile phones declined by 12.9 per cent.

Shipments of computer devices have continued to increase on the back of the ongoing trend of working at home and online classes amid the pandemic. Ministry data showed that computer exports to Vietnam surged by 182.9 per cent, the US by 91.4 per cent, the EU by 83.6 per cent, and China by 52.4 per cent.

In contrast, exports of mobile phones decreased as global consumers were likely anticipating the launch of new smartphone models.

Nevertheless, a 54.8 per cent growth was seen in mobile phone exports to China, which offset the decrease to the other four major destinations. Figures for the US and the EU plunged by 69.7 per cent and 64.2 per cent, respectively.