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Semiconductor exports

Korea’s chip exports to top $100 bn in 2021, second-best performance ever

By Jan 05, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

Korea’s chip exports to top 0 bn in 2021, second-best performance ever

South Korea’s semiconductor exports are expected to top $100 billion this year, led by rising demand for DRAM and system chips.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association on Jan. 5, the country’s outbound shipments of chips will rise 10.2% on-year to between $107.5 billion and $111 billion in 2021.

That would be its second-best performance since 2018, when the country shipped a record $126.7 billion worth of semiconductors.

In 2020, chip exports reached $99.2 billion, up 5.6% from the previous year, according to the ministry data. Exports of system chips posted an all-time high of $30.3 billion, becoming the fifth-largest export item.

The ministry forecast that system chips will continue to perform well in 2021, with exports rising to between $31.8 billion and $33 billion on the back of growing demand for 5G communication chips and image sensors, and robust foundry orders from fabless chipmakers.

Memory chips are also expected to post strong growth with their exports rising 12% to the $70.3 billion-$72.9 billion range, led by rising DRAM chip prices. NAND chip prices are forecast to fall this year but export volumes will rise, the ministry said.

Citing data from the World Semiconductor Trade Statistics, the ministry said Korea’s investment in chip facilities will rise 20.4% to $18.9 billion this year, the largest among major chipmaking countries, followed by China’s $16.8 billion and Taiwan’s $15.6 billion.

Korea is home to the world’s two leading chipmakers – Samsung Electronics Co. and SK Hynix Inc.

Write to Soo-Young Seong at

In-Soo Nam edited this article.

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