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South Korea Economic Profile

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South Korea economic profile

The economic development witnessed in South Korea in the recent past has been exceptional and it is certain that the country has a high growth potential. Records indicate that the GD for South Korea increased by 8 percent each year between 1962 and 1989; with US$2.3 billion being recorded in 1962 and reaching US$204 billion in 1989 (Savada, 1997, 137). The growth in per capita annual income in the same period shifted from US$87 to US$4,830. Current statistics indicate that South Korea's GDP growth in terms of purchasing power parity was $1.364 trillion as at 2009 (Economy Watch, 2011). Real GDP growth has dropped significantly with the trend showing growth rates of 5.1%, 2.3% and 0.2% in 2007, 2008 and 2009 respectively. Compared to other countries, South Korea maintains a low level of debt at a mere 34 percent. This is significantly low compared to figures in developing countries such as the United States at 60.8%, Italy at 103.7%, Canada at 62.3%, France at 67%, Germany at 62.5% and UK at 47.2% (Economy Watch, 2011).The country has grown mostly due to heavy investment in the industrial sector whereby automobile production, electronics, shipbuilding, telecommunications and steel provide the highest source of income (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2009). Other sectors including agriculture and natural resources also contribute significantly towards economic growth. South Korea is the seventh largest trading partner of the United States and is ranked the 15th largest world economy (Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, 2010). It is a member of the OECD countries and one of G-20 major economies. South Korea is considered a high-income developed country and an advanced economy by the World Bank, IMF, CIA and other international bodies.

South Korea through its aggressive manufacturing that mostly focuses on exports has managed to become the eighth biggest goods exporter in the world, ahead of Russia, UK and Canada (Economy watch, 2011). South Korea is the 7th largest trade partner with the United States, 8th with EU and 3rd with China and Japan. It is the largest shipbuilder in the world and has the largest shipyard which is operated by Hyundai Heavy Industries. South Korea is the 5th largest automobile maker in the world and boasts of having the largest automobile assembly plant (Hyundai Motors). It is also the largest exporter of oil in Asia. According to Economic Watch (2011), South Korea produces the most computer memory chips and screen displays including plasma, LCD and CRT in the world and has recorded the fastest patent registrations in the world. South Korea is considered the second largest steel manufacturer in the world. Finally, it has the highest internet connectivity in the world and is among the countries with the fastest networks.

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