10 Surprising Korean Exports You Didn't Know About

By Koreaboo

How much do you know about Korea? What about their strongest industries? Here are the top 10 exports from Korea: how many did you expect?

  • 10. Metal Products

    $11.1B of products like steel beams, pipes, wire rods & automotive steel was exported out of Korea in 2013. They're not products you see on store shelves, but are huge drivers for Korea's economy. 

  • 9. Iron and Steel

    Aside from finished or semi-finished iron/steel products, Korea also exported $22.2B of raw iron & steel this past year. 

  • 8. Organic Chemicals

    They just seem like a bunch of letters and numbers to you & I, these chemicals are practically the building blocks of materials like lubricants, plastics & explosives. $24.8B was exported last year.

  • 7. Plastics

    Plastic is almost literally everywhere. It's a huge market, especially when you think of the scale in which factories pump out plastic products. Plastics made up $31.1B of Korea's exports in 2013.

  • 6. Ship & Boats

    Being a peninsula, it makes sense that Korea is a large producer of ships, exporting $35.8B last year. Large companies like Samsung and Hyundai make for a large chunk of that sum.

  • 5. Optical, Technical and Medical Apparatus

    Total exports in 2013 amount to $35.9B. Next time you step into the hospital or your eye doctor's office, you'll likely see some Korean equipment!

  • 4. Mineral Fuels, Including Oil

    Korea has exported minerals like coal, peat, petroleum, crude oils and even electrical energy amounting to $54B in 2013.

  • 3. Machinery

    From agricultural to manufacturing machinery, Korea's machine exports in the past year amounted to $59B. 

  • 2. Vehicles (Excluding Cars and Trains)

    $72.7B worth of vehicles were exported from Korea in 2013, and that's not counting cars. Manufacturers like Hyundai, Kia and even Samsung export a significant amount of vehicles internationally.

  • 1. Electronic Equipment

    $135.5B of electronic equipment, including consumer electronics were exported from Korea last year. With massive brands like Samsung, LG and Hitachi, this doesn't come as much of a surprise.

  • Honorable Mention: K-pop

    K-pop is taking the world by storm, but in an economic perspective, K-pop exports amount to $235M, contributing less than 1% Korea's exports. Either way, it doesn't make it any less awesome!