Chapter 4: Korea and the Shipbuilding Global Value Chain

Chapter 4: Korea and the Shipbuilding Global Value Chain
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Listing Type: Research Reports

Lukas Brun | Stacey Frederick

Shipbuilding in Korea has been a lynchpin of industrial development, national security, and source of employment and foreign exchange for the country since the 1970s. From relatively humble beginnings in 1972, when Korean national economic development plans identified shipbuilding as a key industrial sector for development, the big three Korean shipbuilding firms, Hyundai Heavy Industries, Samsung, and Daewoo have become dominant firms in the global shipbuilding industry, producing sophisticated commercial vessels for customers around the world. Today, the shipbuilding industry contributes about 2% to Korea’s GDP (OECD 2015), directly employs approximately 200,000 workers, particularly in rural areas, and makes up between 7-8% of total exports (KOMEA 2016). Shipbuilding is routinely among the top three most valuable Korean export industries, competing with automobiles and electronics for the top spot (KOMEA 2016). This chapter investigates the shipbuilding value chain and Korea’s position in the regional and global industry.

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