South Korea’s economy and markets are dominated by export-oriented companies, particularly those that are now household names in the U.S. — consider Samsung Electronics , LG Electronics,Hyundai Motorsand Kia Motors .
But it’s not only consumer electronics, information technology and autos that dominate Korea’s export sector. The nation also depends on materials and industrial goods for exports. Some of the biggest are: Posco , a steelmaker, LG Chemical , a chemicals manufacturer, and Hyundai Heavy Industries , a machinery maker.
These companies have solidified their global presence based on consistent product offerings that typically provide customers with quality goods at competitive prices. Many Korean exporters have also made inroads beyond the U.S. and Europe, to emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil that many analysts expect will continue to fuel their growth.
“Korea has been improving its brand image, and the quality (of its products) has improved quite a lot,” says Michael Oh, portfolio manager at Matthews Korea Investor.
One reason for Korea’s shine is a decision by many of its companies to fund research and development, even when times are tough. Korea is “one of the few countries increasing R&D, while other countries have been cutting back,” Oh says.
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