Korean DTV Exports Up 300%

Digital television is proving to be a huge boon to the Korean electronics industry.

On February 28, the Korea Times reported that Korean digital television exports were three times higher in 2002 than in the previous year. The country's digital TV shipments totaled 813,000 units last year, a 327.5% increase over 2001.

The value of the shipments was $970 million, a 263.2% increase over 2001, according to the Electronic Industries Association of Korea (EIAK). The disparity between units shipped and monetary value was attributed to declining prices. The average export price of a Korean-made digital TV dropped from $1410 in 2001 to $1198 last year. Even with prices slipping, increased demand should push DTV exports to $2.5 billion for fiscal 2003, EIAK officials estimate.

Digital televisions now account for almost half of Korea's total TV production. DTVs were only 16.6% of the total in 2001, but rose to 49.8% last year. Projection sets were the most popular category, with 34% of the total, a value of $332 million. Plasma display panels (PDPs) were a close second with 32% of the total, valued at $314 million. Liquid crystal display (LCD) technology accounted for 18% of all TVs, with a value of $175 million, and cathode-ray tube (CRT) TVs figured in the remaining 16% of production, valued at $154 million. The average price of a projection set was $1305; for a PDP, $3,070; LCD, $751; and CRT $688.

Worldwide picture: Korean digital TV exports to the Middle East, Australia and Japan grew by 803.8% in 2002. Exports to Europe went up 531.7%, and shipments to North America grew 182.9%. North America is considered the biggest market for Korean-made DTVs.