Korea’s Advanced Industry Success Story
Nations are in a fierce win-lose competition for global market share in advanced, traded-sector technology industries, because winning enables not only prosperity, but economic and national security―especially for allied nations where China's gain often comes at their loss. As Rob Atkinson writes in the Korea Times, Korea's advanced-industry performance over the last quarter-century has been superlative, lagging only behind Taiwan.
The Hamilton Center on Industrial Strategy at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation recently examined national changes in global shares of output in seven advanced industries: pharmaceuticals; electrical equipment; machinery and equipment; motor vehicle equipment; other transport equipment; computer, electronic and optical products; and information technology and information services. These industries are globally traded, technologically complex and key to national and economic security.
It should come as no surprise that Korea has shown remarkable progress. Its global share of advanced industries increased by 65 percent from 1995 to 2018, from 2.5 to 4.1 percent. Korea went from having an advanced industrial economy that was just 10 percent of the size of the United States' advanced industrial economy in 1995 to one that was 18 percent the size in 2018 (the latest year data is available). In 1995 Korea's computer and electronic products output was just 14 percent America's output. By 2018, it was almost half of America's (46 percent).