Promising Industries

Korea is making efforts to advance industries and economic structure by adding new value to the industries and creating new jobs through selection of promising industries and continued investment in new technologies and products.


Korea’s cosmetics market ranks ninth in size globally, and cosmetics exports have been recording an impressive growth rate of 43.2 percent per year since 2012, alongside the influence of K-beauty and the rise in popularity of Korean culture in general. In the greater China region, as of 2017, cosmetics made up about 64% of total exports.

Distribution of Korean Cosmetics Exports (2017)


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Source: Foundation of Korea Cosmetic Industry Institute


Korea’s fashion industry is showing high growth through continuing efforts to create high added value. The size of the market has also grown steadily, to reach KRW 43.1 trillion in 2016. Amid the growing influence of Korean pop culture, which is spreading throughout the world in the form of K-pop and TV dramas, Korean fashion is now a global trend leader.

Cultural Contents

Korea’s cultural content industry is showing high export growth, at an average rate of 6.9% per year since 2012, thanks to the conspicuous performance of globally competitive digital content such as computer games. In particular, the popularity of K-Wave has heightened in areas as far as East Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East, and consistent growth in the cultural content industry is expected to continue.

Market Size and Export Trends for Korea's Content Industry (2017)

(USD billion)

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Source: KOCCA, 2017 Annual Report on Trend Analysis of Content Industry
Note: CAGR calculated based on KRW

Food & Beverage

Korea’s food industry production has grown at a speed of 7.1% per year since 2005. In addition, the popularity of Korean-made processed foods in the East Asian region, including China, has led to a steep growth in food exports since 2006, at 8% or more on average each year.


Korea’s fintech industry is growing at a fast pace thanks to the country’s superior technological capability and an advanced mobile IT infrastructure. It is actively engaged in the exchange of goods and services with China, the leading country in fintech, and the potential is unlimited. In 2013, Korea was home to only 62 fintech companies, but at the end of 2017, the number increased nearly four-fold to 223. Moreover, Korea's robust mobile phone usage and e-commerce are increasing the number of easy-to-use payment, wire transfer and P2P finance companies.

Average Fintech Usage Rate in Major Countries (20 Countries)


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Source: Ernst & Young, 2017 Fintech Adoption Index

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