Photo: President Moon Jae-in gives a remark for the 58th Trade Day. Credit: Office of the President.
According to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA) 한국무역협회, South Korea’s total exports for 2021 are estimated to be USD 636.2b, replacing the previous record of USD 604.9b from 2018.
The proportion of exports in the “eight new industries” 8대 신산업 as categorized by KITA - next generation semiconductors, bio/health, next generation display, ecofriendly vehicles, clean energy, new materials, aerospace, and robots - was 18.3%, a strong increase from 13.6% in 2018. Especially notable was the increase in the sales of electric vehicles: 44% growth compared to 2020.
Buoyed by strong exports, South Korea's per capita GDP exceeded USD 35k, also a new record. The per capita GDP increased by 9.5% compared to the previous year, the highest rate of growth since 2010 as the country was recovering from the global financial crisis of 2008.