Korea’s healthcare exports grew more rapidly than those of other industries as other countries hailed the nation’s response to fight Covid-19, a state health industry promotion agency said.
The Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI) released various healthcare industry data, including exports, jobs, and earnings performances in the first half of 2020 on Wednesday.
The state agency analyzed the outcome using the latest data from the Korea Customs Service, the Korea Employment Information Service, and the Financial Supervisory Service.
The analysis showed that despite the headwinds from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the local healthcare industry expanded with a robust increase in exports in the first half thanks to the nation’s excellent response to the pandemic, KHIDI said.
With a surge of exports of Covid-19 diagnostic kits and personal hygiene products, the healthcare industry’s export ranking shot up to sixth among domestic industries this year, up from 10th in 2019.
More specifically, the export volume of healthcare products rose 26.7 percent on-year to $9.6 billion in the first half. By items, shipments of pharmaceutical goods marked $3.8 billion, cosmetics, $3.4 billion, and medical devices, $2.3 billion.
Exports of drugs up 52.5% in H1
Exports of pharmaceutical goods, in particular, achieved a 52.5 percent on-year increase, which was the largest expansion among items in the healthcare industry.
Amid Covid-19, exports of domestically produced sanitizers spiked to $230 million in the first half from 3.35 million in the same period of last year. Korean sanitizers were sold to 88 countries, including the U.S., Japan, and China.
The ongoing spread of the virus in the U.S. pushed up exports of sanitizers after March. Products going to the U.S. accounted for 52.1 percent of the total shipment of sanitizers, those to Japan, 25.6 percent, and those to China, 5.2 percent.
Exports of medical devices rose 21.5 percent on-year to $2.3 billion in the first half.
Medical devices also achieved rapid export growth after March. Korea sold $730 million worth medical devices to 173 countries, including the U.S., Brazil, India, and Italy in the first half. The volume accounted for 31.4 percent of the total export.
Healthcare industry adds 29,000 jobs in H1
In the first half, 931,000 people were working in the healthcare industry. Out of them, 163,000 were in manufacturing and 768,000 in medical services.
The healthcare industry added 29,000 jobs in the first half, compared to a year earlier. The healthcare industry's total employees include 74,000 in pharmaceutical manufacturing, 52,000 in medical devices, and 768,000 in medical services.
As of the first quarter, there were 280 listed companies in the healthcare industry. The combined sales marked 10.7 trillion won ($8.9 billion), up 1.1 trillion won from a year earlier.
The companies’ combined operating profit rose to 1.1 trillion won, up 200 billion won from a year earlier. Their average operating profit margin stood at 10.4 percent, up 1.2 percentage points from a year earlier.
The 280 companies spent 800 billion won on R&D in the first quarter, up 31 percent from the same period of last year.