|Technological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)|
|3. The Republic of Korea|
To assess mastery of technology, Korean industrial performance can be taken as an indirect indicator.
Thus, in steel, the Republic of Korea developed from small-scale production with electric furnaces in 1960 to being one of the largest steel-producing countries in the world by the late 1970s, with a capacity of 13.54 million M/T of ingot in 1985. Beginning in 1973, the petrochemical industry achieved self-sufficiency - about 80 per cent of imports had been substituted - and had an export potential of downstream industries.
The electronics industry recorded phenomenal growth in a little over two decades, with the following landmarks: black-and-white television in the late 1960s, colour television in the early 1970s, and other consumer and industrial electronics in the mid- and late 1970s. In 1985, the export of electronics reached US$4.4 billion, representing 15 per cent of the total.
Up to the mid-1970s the shipbuilding industry in the Republic of Korea was small, but by the end of 1985 a maximum capacity of 1 million DWT was reached, placing the country in the world's top rank.
Automobile assembly began in the mid-1960s with completely knocked-down components. Real mass production began only in the mid-1970s, with 200,000 passenger vehicles manufactured in 1979 and 30,000 exported. Production capacity gradually increased to 685,000 per annum in 1985, with a local content ratio of 90 per cent. The automobile industry has now grown to be one of the important export industries, North America being a principal market.