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KIET Industrial Economic Review
Seoul : Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade
ISSN :1598-947X

Vol.17 No.3 , pp.46 ~ 58

Current Issue

The Technology Level of Korean Manufacturing Firms : Survey Results


Kim, Ba-Woo | 산업연구원 |




The Ministry of Knowledge Economy (MKE) and Korea Institute of Industrial Economics and Trade (KIET) have built an industrial statistical database for appropriate policy making in the midst of a rapidly changing economic climate. As a part of the project, a questionnaire survey has been conducted regarding trends in technological level and development in Korean manufacturing industries. The survey has been conducted four times since 2002. This article, which is based on the latest survey conducted in late 2011, was written in order to assist in better understanding of the current situation of technology. The survey includes firm level data on 626 domestic manufacturing firms and analyzes the current situation of technology level, R&D, and desired role of the government. For industry classification, eleven major industries were originally used, but only three unified industries were utilized for simplicity. Specifically, the study unifies eleven manufacturing industries into three industries - light, heavy and info-communication and analyzes by business scales. But, some facts are described in more detail in case of need. First of all, the survey showed a trend of improvements in technology. The technology level and the proportions of companies leading in technology rose steadily. On average, the technology level of domestic companies relative to the world’s best was 81.9 percent and large firms were ahead of small and middle sized enterprises (hereafter, SMEs). Also, 14.7 percent responded as being one of the world’s leading companies. Notwithstanding, the technology gap with China was 3.7 years on average. The gap has decreased with each survey and it suggests the rapid and steady catch-up of China to Korea. When asked about practicing R&D, 81.9 percent of companies responded positively. Overall investment in R&D was 4.2 percent (as of sales), which has declined in comparison to previous surveys. The composition of the R&D field was skewed toward development technology and about two-thirds of R&D was executed as self-development. As for technology fields, material and design technology were weaker than other areas. From a farsighted point of view, R&D in the following fields should be emphasized in order to counter future trends of technology: promising future technology, convergence technology, energy efficient technology and environment friendly technology. Also, in order to enhance the economic outcome of R&D, there should be more cooperation and transfer of technology among companies.


>> 1. Introduction
>> 2. Current Situation of Technology
>> >> (1) Level of Technology and Gap with China
>> >> (2) New Technology and Quality Control
>> >> (3) Outcomes of Technology Development
>> 3. Current Situation of R&D
>> >> (1) Field and Methodology
>> >> (2) Human Resources and Investment
>> 4. Desired Role for Government
>> 5. Concluding Remarks