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close this bookTechnological Independence The Asian experience (UNU, 1994, 372 pages)
close this folder3. The Republic of Korea
View the documentPreamble
View the documentHistory
View the documentDevelopment policies and strategies from the 1960s to the 1980s
View the documentThe plans
View the documentImpact on the agricultural and industrial sectors
View the documentScience and technology in korea before the 1960s
View the documentThe role of science and technology in recent development
View the documentScience and technology and the exogenous environment
View the documentEducation and training
View the documentResearch and development
View the documentReassessment of the policy and strategy
View the documentAchievements in industrial development
View the documentThe electronics industry as a case-study
View the documentSelf-reliance targets at each stage
View the documentProblems and issues
View the documentFuture plan for self-reliance of science and technology
View the documentThe long-term goals and strategy of national development
View the documentRole of science and technology for future development
View the documentLong-term goal of S&T development
View the documentSumming-up and regional cooperation
View the documentRegional cooperation
View the documentBibliography

Achievements in industrial development

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.