English I 2019
Corporations and Innovation
Large export-industry firms played a significant role in Korea’s economic development. As development progressed, these firms became Korea’s chaebols or conglomerates. Korea’s economy is highly dependent on large firms, and large firms have become increasingly important since 2000. The top 100 companies account for about 50% of the total billing amount of shipment, and the top 50 companies account for 43%. Among large firms with more than 300 employees, 37% and 17% of these are located in Seoul and Gyeonggi, respectively. About 58% of large firms are located in the greater capital area, which indicates that many administrative and control functions are concentrated around the capital.
Korea’s first approach to manufacturing industries focused on factor-driven light industries until the early 1970s, but after the mid-1970s, it shifted its emphasis toward investment-driven heavy chemical industries. After the 1980s, it shifted again toward a focus on innovation-driven industry by fostering highly-skilled human resources and technological Development.
Research and development investment in Korea has increased from less than 1% of the GDP in the early 1980s, to 4% in 2012, and to 4.6% in 2017. This growth represents a much faster growth in the technology-based sectors than in most other countries. The investment bodies of research and development changed as well. By the 1970s, public research institutes accounted for more than half of the research and development, but the share of private sector investments rapidly increased to make up more than 70% since the 1980s.