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Korea`s Major Manufacturing Industries : History and Vision

Author Park(J.K) Kim(J.H) Park(S.T) Date 1997.10.01 Page 0
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It was not until 1972, when the third Five-year Economic and SocialDevelopment Plan was initiated by the Korean government, that the iron and steel industry took shape. With the enactment of the Iron and Steel Promotion Law in 1970 and the opening of the first stage of POSCO in 1973, the Korean iron and steel production capability has expanded above 20 percent annually during the last two decades. Korea produced 38.9 million tons in 1996 which was an increase of 64 times the 610 thousand tons in 1972. In 1996, Korea ranked as the sixth crude steel producer in the world and POSCO, which produced 24.3 million tons ranked as the second largest company, next to Nippon Steel Corporation, in the world. Also Hanbo, following the Nucor Co., began a new era by opening a thin slab process factory in 1995 and produced hot coil by electric arc furnaces. Behind this rapid growth of the Korean iron and steel industry, lies not only the government’ s strong will to promote it, but also the increase of the productivity of d companies, stable management, technology development, and cheap labor costs. Korean industry maintains high competitiveness because of its efficiency that comes from the brand new facilities.Recently, the advanced countries such as the USA, Japan, and EU have reinforced the competitiveness of the iron and steel industry through the reduction of employees and the rationalization of facilities. On the other hand, the developing countries such as China, India, and Southeast Asian countries are trying hard to pursue facility expansion. These developments shall bring a great difference in the structure of the steel industry. Thus it is expected that the world steel industry in the 21st century will enter into an era of infinite competition because of the change in the world-wide competition structure and the globalization of the world economy.