This study reviews the structures of a variety machine industries in Korea—automobile and motor manufacturing, machine tools, agricultural equipment, heavy electronics, precision equipment, etc.—and attempts to forecast their developments.
Automobile manufacturing, a leading machine industry in Korea, is an arena of growing international competition, as industrialized countries vie for leadership in the field. The auto industry exerts considerable influence throughout a given economy, determining the economy’s industrialization, competitiveness, and future development. As auto manufacturing is sensitive to changes in income level and demand, and its products are also subject to relatively high taxes and maintenance costs, there are not yet many cars on the streets of Korea. In order to promote the auto industry in Korea, it is crucial to ensure technological innovation, educate market actors on the need to foster and develop the auto industry, and to raise the level of income for households by further promoting economic growth. Moreover, the Korean government needs to stimulate demand, increase exports of Korean cars to increase their competitiveness on the international market, encourage automakers to adopt advanced technologies from abroad, and otherwise form a market environment that ensures the stability of the industry.
The motor industry, another prospective source of growth in Korea, produced USD 90 million worth of goods and imported USD 130 million worth of goods from overseas in 1976 alone, with the domestic demand amounting to or exceeding USD 270 million. The industry’s output expected to exceed USD 10 billion by the early 1990s. The success of the motor industry will depend on the innovation of related technologies (including the introduction of advanced technologies from abroad), the improvement of product quality, and the development of better-performing models.
The machine tool industry, on the other hand, produces far less than its counterparts in India, Brazil, and Taiwan, having produced USD 52 million worth of goods in 1976. The field is in desperate need of research and development, as well as policy support.
The agricultural equipment industry has been growing significantly, along with the overall national economy, over the last 10 years or so. However, while the technology of the products has been improved, Korean agriculture still remains in a pre-modern state, involving only minimal use of advanced machinery. The Korean government therefore needs to distribute farming equipment more actively, encouraging the mechanization of agriculture and the development of larger and more powerful farming machines.
While the heavy electronics industry has also been growing significantly, the outdated status of the production facilities and lack of technology in Korea continues to limit the industry’s expansion. The industry can begin to experience real success only when Korea develops a sufficient foundation of basic manufacturing, as well as advanced facilities for higher-level processing and a more skilled workforce.
The development of a skilled workforce is also urgently required for the precision equipment industry. Despite being less capital-intensive and capable of higher added value, the precision equipment industry is struggling due to the absence of an expert workforce. The industry is expected to grow at a rate of at least 18 percent a year, amounting to USD 140 million by 1986 and USD 270 million by 1991. The industry requires ample support, particularly for the development of a specialized workforce and for research and development in service of technological innovation.
한국기계공업의 구조와 전망(Structure and prospects of Korea’s machine industries)
|Series Title; No||연구보고서 / 제79-06권|
|Subject Country||South Korea(Asia and Pacific)|
|Subject||Industry and Technology < General|
|Holding||KDI; KDI School|