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  • 5th Largest Chemical Market in the World Close
    5th Largest Chemical Market in the World
    The scale of the chemical industry is typically calculated by the productive capacity of Ethylene.
    Korea ranked 4th in its capacity to produce Ethylene in 2019, with 9,816 tons.
    Korea’s specialty chemical materials have posted continuous growth, thanks to steady growth of the ICT industry (semiconductors, OLED, secondary batteries, etc.).
    Five Korean chemical companies are listed on the ICIS Top 100 Chemical Companies (ICIS, September 2020).
    Demand for various domestic industries involved in secondary batteries, automobile, and OLED, etc., customized production and development, and massive investment are expected to further increase the growth of specialty chemical materials.
    Please refer to the information below
    2019 Productive Capacity of Ethylene 세계 174.4(단위: 백만톤/년)
    1. US 37.4(21.4%)
    2. China 26.9(15.4%)
    3. Saudi Arabia 17.7(10.1%)
    4. Korea 9.8(5.6%)
    5. Iran 7.3(4.2%)
    6. India 7.5(4.3%)
    7. Japan 6.5(3.7%)
    Korean Companies Listed on the ICIS Top 100
    1. No. 8 LG Chem
    2. No. 16 SK Innovation
    3. No. 26 Lotte Chemical
    4. No. 56 GS Caltex Corporation
    5. No. 82 Hanhwa Solutions
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    ※ Source: Korea Petrochemical Industry Association
  • Continuous Growth Expected Based on Sound Front Industries and Infrastructure Open
    Continuous Growth Expected Based on Sound Front Industries and Infrastructure
    Korea’s chemical industry has been growing based on the country’s major front industries, such as automobiles, textiles, construction, and plastics,
    which establish the country as a manufacturing powerhouse. Exports of the Korean chemical industry focused on East Asia, including China, recorded 11.79 million tons in 2019.
    A total of 348 education and training institutions that have chemical related departments, such as KAIST and POSTECH, foster a workforce of over 30,000 core talent every year.
    In order to strengthen infrastructure for materials, parts, and equipment, an increase in national research infrastructure from 18 to 51 pieces is in the planning stages.
    "Overview of Major Front Industries in Korea"
    Overview of Major Front Industries in Korea Major industries, global status, and major companies
    Major industries global status, and major companies
    Automobile
    • 7th largest automobile manufacturer in the world (3.95 million, 2019)
    • 4th in sales of electric vehicles and 1st in hydrogen vehicles in the world recorded by Hyundai Motor Group; Stable and increasing demand for specialty chemical materials to lighten vehicles
    System Semiconductors
    • Samsung Electronics plans to invest USD 114.3 billion to become the leading system semiconductor company by 2030
    • Complex structure and precision design of system semiconductors increased demand for specialty chemical materials
    Display
    • Largest market share in the global display market (2019)
    • Exports of OLED panels have shown an annual average growth of 35.3% since 2007 and recorded USD 10.25 billion in 2019, accounting for the half of overall exports of display products.
    Secondary Batteries
    • LG Chem ranked 1st (2020) and plans to supply NCMA batteries to GM.
    • Samsung SDI produces NCA batteries with high nickel content.
    • SK Innovation plans to develop high nickel batteries and supply Ford in 2023.
    ※ Source: Korea Petrochemical Industry Association, Korea International Trade Association ※ Footnote: Production (left) / Domestic (left) / Export (right) / Import (right)
  • More Foreign Companies Entering Korea in Response to Huge Demand for Front Industries Open
    More Foreign Companies Entering Korea in Response to Huge Demand for Front Industries
    Many global chemical companies located in Korea supply products with high added-value to respond to demand from large-scale front industries (semiconductors, secondary batteries, electric vehicles).
    In the case of FDI, batteries are receiving the largest investment in the electric equipment industry.
    Companies from many countries, including Japan, Germany, Switzerland, and China, have entered the Korean market, and are involved in a variety of areas, from functional coating and films and secondary batteries, to engineering plastics.
    "Major Foreign Companies Located in Korea"
    Major Foreign Companies Located in Korea Origin, Name of parent company, Location, Primary items
    Origin Name of parent company Location Primary items
    Switzerland Oerlikon balzers Pyeongtaek Gyeonggi-do PVD, PACVD, Base coating, Coating equipment
    Japan Lintec Pyeongtaek Gyeonggi-do Adhesive and bonding films, Films for semiconductors
    Japan Toray Gumi Gyeongsangbuk-do, Gunsan Jeollabuk-do Battery separator films for secondary batteries
    China GEM Pohang Gyeongsangbuk-do Lithium secondary battery cathode material precursor
    Germany BASF Gimcheon Gyeongsangbuk-do POM(Polyoxymethylene)
  • Promotion of the Materials, Parts, and Equipment Industries Open
    Promotion of the Materials, Parts, and Equipment Industries
    The Korean government has strong willingness to foster the materials, parts, and equipment industries.
    To achieve this goal, the Materials, Parts, and Equipment Basic Plan (October 14, 2020), the Implementation Plan for the Materials, Parts, and Equipment Industries (January 22, 2020),
    and the R&D Investment and Innovation Strategies for Materials, Parts, and Equipment (August 27, 2019), etc. have been established.
    The government has set up plans for incentives to attract advanced industries as well as for an investment fund
    worth USD 500 million for materials, parts, and equipment.
  • Establish Regional Fine Chemicals Clusters Open
    Establish Regional Fine Chemicals Clusters
    Fine chemicals clusters can be divided into the metropolitan, Yeongnam, and Honam areas.
    Secondary battery factories, in particular, are located across the country.
    "Main Peculiarities per Region"
    Please refer to the information below
    • Metropolitan
      • Chemical research institutes study new high-efficient composite materials.
      • Fine chemical mini clusters and smart industrial complexes for SMEs in Banwol-Sihwa Industrial Complex in Gyeonggi-do
    • Yeongnam
      • Many chemical research institutes in the National Petrochemical Industrial Complex in Ulsan
      • New smart chemical support center in Haknam Fine Chemicals Industrial Complex in Onsan
    • Honam
      • Remodel the Fine Chemicals Material Cluster in Gwangyang Bay Area near the National Petrochemical Industrial Complex in Yeosu to foster low-carbon, intelligent materials and parts industrial complex
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    "Secondary Battery Factories"
    Please refer to the information below
    • Hwaseong
      • Foosung: Secondary battery electrolytes
    • Cheongju
      • Cosmo AM&T : Cathode materials
    • Cheongju
      • EcoPro BM : Cathode materials
      • E&D : Cathode materials
      • W-Scope : Separators
      • LG Chem : Secondary batteries
      • SK Innovatio: Separators
    • Cheonan
      • Umicore : Cathode materials
    • Gongju
      • Soulbrain : Electrolytes
    • Asan
      • Teijin Lielsort : Separators
    • Daejeon
      • Leechem : Electrolyte materials
    • Jeonju
      • Aekyung Petrochemical : Anode materials
    • Iksan
      • Iljin Materials : Anode materials copper foil
    • Jeongeup
      • KCFT: Anode materials copper foil
    • Gumi
      • Toray BSF : Separators
      • Power Carbon Technology : Anode materials
      • LG Chem : Cathode materials
    • Pohang
      • EcoPro GEM : Cathode materials
      • EcoPro GEM : Cathode materials
    • Yeosu
      • JCEL : Electrolyte
    • Ulsan
      • STM: Cathode materials
      • ENF Technology : Separators
      • Solvay Korea : Additives
      • Samsung SDI : Secondary batteries
    • Daegu
      • LANDF : Cathode materials
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    ※ Source: Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade
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Chemicals/Materials PM
KIM SEUNG HYUN Key Industries Promotion Team
T.+82-2-3460-7729
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