Seoul - Exports of South Korea’s top 10 business groups accounted for two-thirds of their total sales last year, with tech companies relying the most on overseas markets, Yonhap news agency showed on Monday. The combined revenue of the top 10 conglomerates in Asia’s fourth-largest economy totaled 695.6 trillion won (US$594.5 billion) in 2018, with 65.9 percent coming from abroad, according to the report compiled by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI).
By sector, tech companies secured 82.6 percent of their sales in foreign countries, in such areas as memory chips and displays. Samsung Electronics Co., the world’s largest memory chip and smartphone maker, earned 86.1 percent from its sales from abroad, while the corresponding figure for its smaller local rival SK hynix Inc. reached 98 percent last year, KERI said. Exports of Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. -- the country’s top two automakers -- exceeded 60 percent of their total revenues in 2018, driven by sales in China and the United States, the institute said. By region, Asia was the largest export market with a 43.7 percent share, followed by North America with 31.5 percent and Europe with 18.7 percent, it noted.