SEJONG, Dec. 27 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korea’s top 10 companies accounted for 36.2 percent of the country’s exports in 2017, data showed Thursday, in the latest sign of economic domination by family-controlled conglomerates.
The data compiled by Statistics Korea and the Korea Customs Service showed that the combined outbound shipments of the 10 companies reached US$207.3 billion in 2017, up from $167.6 billion in 2016.
Statistics Korea did not identify the top 10 exporters, though it is believed that the list includes tech giant Samsung Electronics Co. and Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s largest carmaker.
The number of big exporters amounted to 803 businesses, making up just 0.9 percent of the country’s total exporters of 93,922 in 2017. But the big exporters accounted for 66.4 percent of all outbound shipments.
In a stark comparison, small and medium-sized exporters accounted for 97.4 percent of the country’s total exporters, but their exports made up 17.7 percent of the country’s total outbound shipments.
The latest data is a reminder that family-controlled conglomerates have dominated Asia’s fourth-largest economy for decades.
The latest findings also showed that China is South Korea’s largest trading partner, followed by the United States.
South Korea had a trade surplus of $44.6 billion with China and $20.1 billion with the U.S. in 2017.