30% of exporters to China expect future growth

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30% of exporters to China expect future growth

Only three out of 10 Korean exporters that ship goods to China, Korea’s biggest trading partner, are optimistic about future growth, according to a survey by the Korea International Trade Association.

The survey said that 30.6 percent of the 395 exporters that deliver goods and services to China said they expect that exports to the neighboring market will improve within this year, while 26.8 percent said the situation will improve next year.

In the first quarter of this year, Korea’s exports to China tumbled 15.7 percent year on year, the sharpest drop in seven years.

In particular, major export goods, including computer chips, flat-panel displays, petrochemical products, automobiles and synthetic fibers, all struggled.

Much of the decline has been related to the slowing economic growth in China, which reported 6.7 percent growth in the first quarter of this year, a drop from 6.9 percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2015.

Some 51 percent of the Korean exporters said sales of ICT products have been heavily affected by the improved quality of Chinese goods, including semiconductors and smartphones.

While 40.9 percent of companies that specialize in exporting consumer goods said they expect a turnaround this year, 50 percent of these companies said business in small and midsize cities would improve quickly.

This is more optimistic than the 35.8 percent that answered that large major cities like Shanghai would likely improve within this year.

“The recovery of exports to China is very important for Korea’s overall exports since it accounts for 25 percent,” said Kang Nae-young, a researcher at the Institute for International Trade. “[Korean exporters] need to increase their market entry in the western region of China by adapting quickly to the Chinese consumer’s changing shopping pattern.”

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]
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