A South Korean think tank said Sunday the country's top major export industries are expected to face a tumble in terms of global competitiveness within three years as Chinese rivals steadily catch up with local companies.
The outlook was based on the survey conducted by the Korea Economic Research Institute (KERI) on companies from South Korea's eight major export industries, namely semiconductors, petrochemicals, ships, automobiles, petroleum goods, steel, displays and mobile devices.
According to the research, KERI said South Korea currently stands as the leader in four industries -- mobile devices, displays, refined petroleum and ship industries -- hovering above other countries, including China.
Under the gauge that places South Korea as 100, KERI said China holds a score of 90 in the four areas.
As for the other four industries, the competitiveness of the United States in the chip sector came to 110, and Japan posted 110 and 130 for steel and cars, respectively. Saudi Arabia posted 110 for the petrochemical segment.
Three years into the future, however, KERI said China is expected to post a score of 110 for the mobile device and display industries. Beijing is also set to tie with Seoul for petroleum goods in 2021, KERI added.
The shipbuilding industry is expected to become the only field where South Korean stands as No. 1 in terms of competitiveness in that year, KERI said.
"The global competitiveness of South Korea's key industries is weakening due to the recent spread of protectionism, intensified global competition, oversupply, shorter working hours, and the discord between workers and management," KERI said, claiming all participants of the economy should join forces to keep local industries viable going forward. (Yonhap News)