Report: South Korea will continue to be a major defence export hub


South Korea stood as the world’s ninth biggest arms importer from 2011 to 2015 and is ranked 15th on the list of the world’s top 20 defence exporters, according to a report by Strategic Defence Intelligence (SDI).

Titled ‘Future of the South Korean Defence Industry – Market Attractiveness, Competitive Landscape and Forecasts to 2022’, the report offers the insights into the South Korean defence industry.

South Korea substantially reduced imports from the US and other countries from 2011 to 2015, a trend that is anticipated to continue in the future as the nation continues to develop in-house technology and equipment.

"South Korea substantially reduced imports from the US and other countries from 2011 to 2015, a trend that is anticipated to continue in the future."

South Korea’s defence exports accounted for 0.8% between 2010 and 2014, with Turkey and Indonesia being major importers. Other importers of the Korean defence systems include the Philippines, Ghana, Peru and Colombia, with the former two considered to be potential customers as they seek to replace ageing military equipment with new weapon systems.

The South Korean defence policy currently prioritises technology transfers and foreign collaboration to enhance indigenous defence capabilities. The nation also plans to reduce restrictions on foreign takeovers of domestic entities, and increase foreign direct investment (FDI) in its defence sector.

According to the report, foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) can enter the South Korean defence industry through technology transfer and collaborative research and development (R&D) routes, but rigorous technology transfer requirements and frequent industrial disputes hinder the entry of foreign companies.