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Korea's IT Exports Hit New High in October   

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South Korea's exports in the information technology (IT) industry hit a new high last month due to solid demand for handsets and semiconductors, a government report showed Wednesday.

Exports of locally-manufactured IT products reached $14.55 billion in October, up 6.1 percent from the same month of last year, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy. For the first 10 months of this year, the exports amounted to $127. 68 billion , down 2.6 percent from the same period of 2011.

The October figure topped the previous record high of $14.1 billion tallied in October 2010, and was up from $14.07 billion in the previous month. The IT exports kept its upward trend for three months in a row.

Despite the persistent external uncertainties such as the eurozone debt problems, South Korea shipped a record high of IT products thanks to solid demand for semiconductors and handsets, the ministry said.

As for handset shipment, strong demand for locally-made smartphones from Europe and a reduction in the proportion of handsets manufactured in overseas factories contributed to the export rebound. Handset exports jumped 18.1 percent last month, up from 7.6 percent growth for September and 26.6 percent drop for August.

Imports of IT products surged 10.9 percent on-year to $7.45 billion in October, but the trade surplus in the sector amounted to 7.1 billion dollars, almost doubling the surplus of $3. 8 billionfor the overall industry.

Among major export items, chips and handset exports led the October growth. Handset exports jumped 18.1 percent on-year to $2. 26 billion last month. South Korea ranked first in terms of global market share of smartphone for six straight quarters in the third quarter.

Exports of semiconductors jumped 6.8 percent to $4.64 billion in October, marking the largest this year. The jump was attributable to solid demand for a sharp rise in shipment of system chips. Exports of memory chips declined 11.8 percent to $1.6 billion, but shipments of system chips soared 24.1 percent to $2.52 billiobillion.

Outbound shipment of display panels increased 3.2 percent to $3. 01 billionover the cited period, keeping a growth trend for four straight months. The growth was ascribable to global price stabilization and rising demand in Europe.

Exports of computer and computer-related products such as printers and monitors declined 1.1 percent on-year to $690 million last month. The global PC market stayed in recession mode, but tablet PCs were expected to help the sector's export recovery, the ministry said.

TV exports tumbled 11.2 percent on-year to $550 million in October. Shipment of LCD TVs surged 34.4 percent thanks to demand for premium models, but TV component exports plunged 17.5 percent last month amid the weakening global TV market.

By country, exports to China, including Hong Kong, reached a record monthly high of 7.58 billion dollars in October, up 14.8 percent from a year earlier. Shipment to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the European Union (EU) and Japan increased 15.8 percent, 7.8 percent and 16.1 percent, but exports to the United States declined 30.2 percent last month.

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