중앙데일리

Smartphones led hike in high-end imports

May 06,2010
Imports of iPhones, health products and luxury goods rose last year, bucking a downward trend for total imports, the Korea Customs Service said yesterday.

Imported mobile phones surged by 149 percent to $137.04 million last year largely due to smartphones.

The Apple iPhone was released in Korea late last year, creating a mania for smartphones. As a result, 72 percent of the mobile phones, most of them smartphones, that were imported last year occurred in the last quarter of 2009.

Imports of mobile phones rose by another 369 percent in the first quarter of this year from a year ago.

Imports of video game consoles rose by 50 percent last year due to the popularity of Nintendo’s Wii, Sony’s PlayStation and Microsoft’s Xbox.

Demand for quality consumer products led to increased imports of coffee beans, bottled water and liquor.

Sake, or distilled Japanese rice wine, became a popular choice among young Korean women due to its soft and gentle taste earning it the nickname “well-being liquor.”

Korea has long imported perfume, expensive wristwatches and musical instruments, but the trend was a little different last year. For instance, the import of saxophones increased almost 8 percent.

The import of small diesel cars, with engines of 2,500 cc or less, also increased sharply as more auto importers introduced smaller cars. The growing preference for fuel-efficient cars as part of the green movement encouraged the trend.

The total import of consumer goods dropped 25.8 percent last year due to the global financial crisis.


By Moon Gwang-lip [joe@joongang.co.kr]



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