Photo: Korea Exchange Headquarters in Busan. Credit: KRX.
Early estimates of 2020 economic data indicate that South Korea’s per capita Gross National Income (GNI) was approximately USD 31k, a decline of 1.1% compared to the per capita GNI in 2019. However, because Italy’s economy declined by approximately 9.9%, South Korea’s per capita GNI for 2020 may have exceeded Italy’s. If that is the case, it would mark the first time that South Korea’s per capita GNI surpassed a G7 country’s. South Korea’s successful response to the coronavirus outbreak cushioned the blow to its economy, and its heavy emphasis on manufacturing and export was better suited to weather the pandemic economy compared to the more service- and tourism-oriented economy of Italy.
Meanwhile, seven South Korean firms - Samsung SDI (electronics), Kakao (IT), LG Chem (batteries), Nexon (video games), Celltrion (pharmaceuticals), Samsung Biologics (pharmaceuticals), and LG Electronics (electronics) - were listed in the Financial Times’ survey of top 100 companies in the world for 2020. South Korea had the most number of firms listed after China (36) and the United States (30).