In gadgets, China’s prowess rises

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In gadgets, China’s prowess rises

China has been rapidly getting stronger in the global electronics goods market in recent years, while neighbors Korea and Japan are treading water, according to an analysis from the Korea Economic Research Institute.

A comparison of revealed comparative advantages (RCA) in the category of consumer electronics showed China’s growth between 2009 and 2013, and Korea and Japan’s stasis.

The index calculates the relative advantage or disadvantage of a certain country in a certain class of goods or services as evidenced by trade flows. When the figure is greater than one, the country has a relative advantage in that product category.

The index in the consumer electronics category in China advanced from 1.86 in 2009 to 2.1 in 2013. That’s a growth of 12.9 percent.

Over the same period, Korea saw the figure increase by a mere 1.7 percent from 1.75 to 1.78. Japan’s index declined 1.9 percent from 1.59 to 1.56.

“China has displayed a rapid pace of growth, though the gap of the RCA indices among the three countries isn’t huge,” said Kwon Se-hoon, a professor of business administration at Seoul-based Sangmyung University. “The technological gap in the consumer electronics field is narrowing among Korea, China and Japan.”

The private think tank advised that Korea should take the lead in sectors that the other two rivals have yet to dominate, such as products that combine the Internet of Things with existing electronics products.

Korea has remained relatively sluggish in the export of electronics gadgets, data shows. The percentage of those products in all Korea exports went up from 4.8 percent in 1992 to 6.2 percent in 2014, whereas China saw the portion skyrocket from a mere 2 percent to 32 percent over the same period. Japan had its proportion slashed by almost one third from 19.6 percent to 5.9 percent in the same period.

Exports of Korean electronics products to China have grown between 1990 and 2012. But exports to Japan have been on the decline, according to the research institute.

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