Korea's bio industry expands at record speeds during Covid pandemicThe output and exports of Korea's bio industry expanded at the fastest speed ever in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, data showed Monday.
The output of the local bio industry was estimated at 17.5 trillion won ($14.7 billion) last year, up 38.2 percent from the previous year, according to data from the Korea Biotechnology Industry Organization and the trade ministry.
It was the highest on-year growth rate to date. The industry's production had been growing at a double-digit rate since 2016.
The biopharmaceutical sector accounted for the largest portion of last year's total production, with 28.9 percent.
The proportion of the bio medical equipment industry surged to 22 percent last year from 8.2 percent a year earlier on strong demand for test kits during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The data also showed exports of bio products spiking 53.1 percent on-year to slightly over 10 trillion won. It was the largest on-year gain and marked the first time the country's bio exports have passed the 10 trillion-won mark.
The stellar increase was led by a 439.1 percent surge in overseas shipments of testing devices amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Bio sector imports gained 13.5 percent on-year to 2.3 trillion won last year, with biopharmaceuticals taking up the largest portion with 79.6 percent.
The bio industry's workforce numbered 53,546 in 2020, up 10 percent from a year earlier, with its investment rising 3.7 percent on-year to 2.7 trillion won, according to the data.