Nation’s top 100 firms’ dependence on overseas sales rises

Sep 24, 2021, 08:19 am

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Source: Korea Economic Research Institute

AsiaToday reporter Hong Sun-mi

South Korea’s top 100 companies’ sales grew faster in the first half of this year than before pandemic, however their dependence on overseas markets increased.

Combined sales of the nation’s top 100 companies by revenue climbed to 723.6 trillion won (US$616 billion) in the first half of this year, up 49.5 trillion won from a year earlier with 674.1 trillion won (US$574 billion), according to the data released Thursday by the Federation of Korean Industries (FKI) under the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI). In addition, 93.7 percent, or 46.4 trillion won, of the on-year increase came from their overseas sales while merely 6.3 percent, or 3.1 trillion won, came from domestic sales. 

Combined overseas sales of the country’s top 100 firms by revenue surged 13.2 percent on-year to 397.3 trillion won (US$338 billion) in the January-June period. On the other hand, their combined domestic sales increased only 1 percent on-year to 326.3 trillion won (US$277 billion).

As a result, dependence on overseas markets increased to 54.9 percent, up 2.8 percentage points from a year earlier.

The KERI said most of the companies, excluding top-tier companies, still have not recovered from the COVID-19 crisis, especially in the domestic market, deepening polarization in domestic sales. 

Combined sales of the nation’s top 20 companies in the domestic market rose 13.1 percent on-year to 148.1 trillion won (US$126 billion) in the January-June period, while those of the bottom 80 companies decreased 7.3 percent to 178.2 trillion won (US$151 billion).

In overseas markets, sales growth was remarkable in the United States and Europe, where mass vaccination campaign has been carried out since the end of last year.

Their sales in the Americas jumped 23.1 percent on-year to 127.8 trillion won (US$108 billion) in the first half, with those in Europe surging 25.9 percent to 80.1 trillion won (US$68 billion). 

On the other hand, their sales in Asia, whose vaccination rates are relatively low, grew only 1.6 percent.

Pharmaceutical, electronics and automaking companies saw their overseas sales expand solidly in the first half compared to the same period last year.

In the pharmaceutical and medical industries, domestic sales jumped by 23.4 percent and overseas sales even witnessed four times jump due to a surge in demand for COVID-19 diagnostic kits. The electric and electronic industries saw their sales increase by 19.6 percent at home and 19 percent abroad, as demand for mobile, computer and semiconductors increased.

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