Chipmakers drove corporate growth in South Korea last year

By Jennie Oh  |  Feb. 25, 2018 at 4:27 AM
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SEOUL, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- South Korea's largest companies saw a 35 percent jump in operating profit last year, on the back of a stronger global economy.

According to industry tracker Chaebol-dot-com on Sunday, the country's top 100 listed companies gained $154 billion in operating profit last year, up 34.7 percent from 2016.

Sales rose 10.5 percent to $1.7 trillion.

Semiconductor manufacturers accounted for much of the growth, boosted by the global supercycle of memory chips.

South Korea's number one tech giant Samsung Electronics and chipmaker SK Hynix saw their margins surge by record figures -- 83.5 percent and 319 percent respectively.

Samsung is currently leading the global market for NAND Flash and DRAM.

Excluding the two firms, earnings growth averaged 9 percent on-year.

Automobile companies saw their margins narrow compared to 2016 after sales flopped in the U.S. as well as China, after Beijing imposed retaliatory measures against South Korean businesses and products as a mark of protest against deploying a U.S. missile defense system to South Korea.

Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors each recorded 11.9 percent and 73.1 percent drops in operating profit last year.

Shipbuilding giant Hyundai Heavy Industries also saw profit plummet 96.3 percent from the year before.

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