A majority of South Korean ICT companies are sanguine about the country's economic and their business conditions in 2018, a poll showed Tuesday.
According to the survey of 300 domestic ICT firms, 35 percent of the respondents expect Asia's fourth-largest economy to turn for the better next year.
Another 50 percent predict the country's economic conditions to remain similar to those of this year, with the remainder anticipating worsening conditions.
Optimists are far more this year than 2016 in the poll taken by the Federation of Korean Information Industries, when nearly 60 percent forecast the nation's economic and their business situations to deteriorate in the coming year.
According to the findings, 34 percent of the surveyed cited U.S. rate hikes and South Korea's snowballing household debt as the key factors to affect the local economy next year.
Trade-related risks from the United States and China came next with 25 percent, followed by the weakening competitiveness of major industries with 24 percent and geopolitical risks with 11 percent.
Concerning the 2018 outlook of the ICT industry, 33 percent of the respondents expected an improvement. Another 56 percent forecast conditions similar to this year, with the remainder expecting a deterioration.
The survey also showed 284 respondents (multiple choice) projecting artificial intelligence to be the key buzz word for the ICT sector in the coming year, followed by the Internet of Things with 245 and big data with 215.
"On the whole, domestic ICT companies are upbeat on next year's economic and business conditions," an industry source said. "But the poll has reaffirmed the economy's vulnerability of high external dependence and the perennial bugbear of household debt."
Amid sluggish consumer spending, South Korea's economy has been driven by brisk exports. South Korea's household debt totaled 1,419 trillion won (US$1.3 trillion) as of the end of September, more than doubling from 665 trillion won at the end of 2007. (Yonhap)
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