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Number of Top Korean Products Decreased

Posted April. 13, 2004 21:41,   


The number of world class Korean products has been decreasing since 1994, raising concerns over national competitiveness.

According to a report about top Korean products and ways to promote competitiveness released by the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry yesterday, the number of the world’s best Korean made products such as DRAM semiconductor in terms of market share is down to 53 last year from 71 in 1996 and 64 in 1998.

The number of Chinese products in terms of the world’s market share has increased sharply from 383 in 1994 to 753 in 2001, one of the biggest reasons behind Korea’s weakened competitiveness.

Observers say there is an urgent need to take actions at the governmental level such as developing human resources in sophisticated technologies and upgrading brand quality as the figure is also six to eight times lower than those of the U.S. (954) and Japan (318).

“Korean technologies of core industries are only at the 60 percent level of technologies of advanced nations,” said an official at the KCCI. “To expand the number of top products, industries should learn a lesson from success cases such as DRAM semiconductor and TFT-LCD.”

The KCCI said the secret behind the success of DRAM is entrepreneurship of CEOs, bold investment, and a strategic choice of a memory chip considering circumstances in Korea. The success of TFT-LCD is attributable to bold investment at the cost of deficit and product differentiation in new fields such as the big screen market.

The types of Korea’s top products have been changing as industrialization has proceeded from low value-added products such as wigs and shoes in the 1960s, to black and white televisions, radios and textile in 1970s, to color televisions and ships in the 1980s, and to IT products in the 1990s.

Won-Jae Lee wjlee@donga.com