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South Korea reports export boom in silicon, wireless comms, and instant noodles

Makes sense really

Newly released data suggests South Korea is having a silicon and instant noodle renaissance, both thanks to COVID-19.

The south side of the nation had a great month for exports as the daily average for the first 20 days of July grew by 32.8 percent year-on-year. Data released by the Korea Customs Service detailed a year-on-year increase in semiconductors by 33.9 per cent, wireless communication by 68.1 per cent, and industrial precision equipment by 15.1 per cent. Meanwhile, figures decreased for computer peripheral equipment by 7.8 per cent.

The increases are welcome news to many given the pandemic-related supply issues seen globally last year and this, specifically those in the semiconductor industry.

The decrease in computer peripheral equipment suggests consumers are either already stocked up on their work-from-home kit or planning for a return to the office.

Other data released by Korean Customs reports another big export spike, this one in the sale of Korean ramyeon noodles, otherwise known as instant ramen noodles. Overseas shipments of the culinary item for the first half of 2021 were up 5.8 per cent year-on-year, grossing just under $320m and hitting an all-time high., a news website operated by the South Korean government, attributed the surge to people stocking up on easy "emergency" foods to make and eat at home while on quarantine.

Although exports are at an all-time high for the provisions, their growth rate has slowed. Last year, the growth rate was 37.4 per cent year-on-year for the first half of 2020.

The growth slowdown in 2021 was partially attributed to Chinese consumer spending and eating habits. Ramyeon shipments from Korea to the Middle Kingdom for January through the end of June dropped year-on-year by 15.8 per cent. However, the Chinese remained the largest overseas market, spending over $68m on the noodles in the first half of 2021.

Shipping container shortages and the featuring of ramdon in Oscar-winning Korean film Parasite likely had a part to play, as might the noodles' spreading "Netflix and chill" connotations.

And while many of us have grown fond of our instant ramen in the current pandemic, The Register imagines readers hope that overall noodle exports drop off soon due to a lessening need for emergency provisions. The chip shipments are welcome to stay. ®

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