Exports of South Korean pharmaceutical goods reached a record-high last year as the country set sights on the sector as a new growth engine for the country, data showed Sunday.
The country's pharmaceuticals exports amounted to US$3.72 billion last year, with an annual growth rate of 21.1 percent between 2014 and 2018, far outpacing growth of semiconductors, autos and mobile telecommunication equipment exports, according to the data compiled by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).
The country's exports of such goods accounted for 0.61 percent of its overall outbound shipments last year.
South Korea carved out a 0.46-percent share of the global pharmaceutical goods market in 2017, which marks a leap from 0.23 percent in 2010, the data showed.
In its quest for new growth engines, South Korea charted out a set of measures last week to foster the biohealth industry by utilizing its prowess in information and communication technology.
South Korea has been struggling to find next-generation economic growth drivers, with focus on three key promising sectors -- system chips, biohealth and future cars -- as its exports face headwinds.
Under the plan, the government will spend a whopping 4 trillion won (US$3.34 billion) by 2025 to promote the development of high-end pharmaceutical products and medical instruments. The earmarked budget marks a sharp rise from the yearly budget of 2.6 trillion won in 2017.
Should the measures be implemented as planned, South Korea's share in the global market for pharmaceuticals and medical instruments, which came to 1.8 percent in 2018, will increase to 6 percent in 2030, according to the government.
South Korea's exports in the biohealth segment will also rise to $50 billion in 2030 from $14.4 billion in 2018. (Yonhap)