Korean electronics industry started with manufacture of radios with vacuum tubes in 1959 and now accounts for 16.1 per cent of GNP and 35 per cent of all exports from Korea. South Korea is the world's centre of attraction for semiconductor and electronics technology. It is the sixth most sought-after developed country in the area of electronics. It ranks third in manufacturing of semiconductors, producing the largest number of DRAMs in the world.

In recent years, South Korea has made a huge investment for the development of telecommunications infrastructure. It is the result of these efforts that this country today ranks amongst the top 10 countries in IT-based telecommunication facilities.

In August 1995, the first South Korean artificial satellite Mugoongwha was launched that initiated a new era in the history of Korean telecommunications. In early 1990s, the Korea Information Infrastructure (KII) project for high-speed information networks was launched. In early 1999, Cyber 21 was launched and is still forging ahead.

Now, this country is incorporating all its focus on digital technology, and high-definition digital plasma TV sets. South Korea is also in the process of enhancing its already developed nanotechnology in the form of ultra-micro nanowires. Its nanotechnology was more advanced than of the United States of America in the year 2000 to 2005.

Mobile Phones

South Korean cellular phones utilise the latest technology and are available in a variety of designs and colours, which is why these are in large demand in the world markets. In 2001, South Korea had 27 million cellphone users and today that figure has converted three-fold. South Korean companies are trying to tie-up with wireless Internet players in other major international markets like Brazil that share characteristics similar to Asian countries.

Information Technology

Diverse programmes, including the Internet service that will be a hundred times faster that being used today, are expected to make South Korea one of the leading countries in information technology. South Korea has also emerged as a leader in broadcasting technology and information communication services. Interestingly, in 1998 there were only 52,000 households subscribing to super high-speed Internet, which multiplied by 83 times in year 2001 and then the 83 times figure multiplied by 500 times in year 2014. This achievement has made South Korea the world's largest supplier of super high-speed Internet in proportion to its population.

Semiconductor is an item recording trade surplus. It accounts for the biggest export order value and played the main role in overcoming the IMF economic crisis.

The software market in South Korea rose from 3.7 billion US dollars to over 7 billion US dollars by 2001. Today in 2014, the figures are way too high. South Korea is fast emerging as one of the leading IT-enabled countries. Also, South Korea is well placed to become a leading market in broadband and mobile Internet services.


South Korea has been researching with robots since 15 to 20 years and one of the most important technological venture of the country is the Korea Advanced Institute of Sciences and Technology. The technology from CTEC, Inc., Seoul, that turned your PC into a camera surveillance system was in talks in year 2001. Now more sophisticated robots achieving human-like motions with the help of sensor technology have been developed.

Technology Drives

South Korea has 4 electronic majors to its credit that have led its growth in electronics, namely, Samsung, LG, Daewoo and Hyundai.

Samsung Electronics

In 1995, Samsung unveiled a 56cm (24-inch) TFT monitor and blue lightweight cell phones that can be worn in chain around the neck. In 2001, it also developed the world's largest next-generation display which replaced thin screens for PCs and notebooks. Now Samsung is the world leader in smart phones, high-definition OLED curved televisions, amongst others.

LG Electronics

LG is well entrenched in information, multimedia, communication and component areas. Today, LG products are the most-sought over devices in developing countries such as India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Daewoo Electronics

They produce high-tech audio-video systems for CTV sets and exports these to countries across the globe.


Hyundai developed the 4MB DRAM in 1984 and the 16MB DRAM in 1991. In less than two years, it produced the high-density 64MB DRAM.


The South Korean industry has been strong despite global recession problems in year 2008-2009 in the world. South Korea and China started preliminary research on the 4G mobile technology around 14 years ago and now 4G is a very common term amongst these countries. Strategic technical alliances with other world market leaders allow the South Korean chaebols to penetrate new markets faster and give them access to a broader range of cutting-edge technology. The future of South Korean electronics industry is bright and we will see several developments in the electronics area ventured by this future-ready electronics country.

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