SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s trade balance of intellectual property has improved during the first half of this year, with the deficit dropping to a record low of $600 million, while major companies posted a surplus for the first time thanks to royalties in the IT industry, the Bank of Korea said.
According to data released on Tuesday by the Bank of Korea on the balance of trade in intellectual property, the trade deficit dropped nearly 36 percent compared to the same time last year, particularly in the trade of copyrights and utility models, where the deficit dropped from $930 million to $100 million over the same period, the lowest number since records began in 2010.
The data also showed that major firms reported a trade surplus in intellectual property, turning a deficit of $920 million into a surplus of $330 million compared to the first half of last year.
“The trade balance in intellectual property continues to improve as imports of copyrights and utility models from developed countries like the U.S. decrease while exports to local companies in foreign markets like Vietnam increase,” the Bank of Korea said.
When broken down by copyright type, industrial property rights stood out as the deficit of over 1.2 billion won nearly halved compared to last year, thanks to an improvement in the trade balance of both copyrights and utility models.
However, trademarks and franchise fees experienced the biggest drop in three years, suffering from a deficit of $520 million off the back of a growing number of companies purchasing trademarks from foreign brands to operate a business.
Copyrights sold during the first half of this year nearly halved, yielding $170 million compared to last year’s figure of $380 million.
Copyrights in the entertainment and art industry in particular experienced a deficit of $100 million this year, representing the worst half since records began.
When it came to movies, broadcasting and other IT services, South Korea enjoyed a moderate surplus of $220 million, down by more than 50 percent following the negative impact on its economy after the deployment of the politically charged THAAD anti-missile system led to the cancellation of numerous K-pop concerts.
When broken down by country, the trade surplus with the U.S. was estimated at $1.65 billion, the lowest figure ever, down $200 million from the same time last year.
Trade surpluses grew, however, in China and Vietnam, thanks to franchise fees and utility model rights.
A record high of $1.4 billion in intellectual property was exported to Vietnam during the first half of this year, up from last year’s $870 million.
Ashley Song (Ashley@koreabizwire.com)