chaebol, basic metals, computer components, heavy industries, agricultural resources
The division of the Korea Peninsula in 1945 created two unbalanced economic units. The north held most of the natural resources and heavy industries developed during occupation by the Japanese; the south contained most of the agricultural resources and a large labor pool. Industrial development in the south concentrated initially on light manufacturing of export-oriented items, especially in labor-intensive industries such as textiles and apparel, footwear, and foodstuffs. Beginning in the early 1970s, however, emphasis was placed on heavy industry. In the 1980s and 1990s Korean manufacturers branched into high-technology industries, such as computer components and semiconductors. Manufacturing is dominated by chaebol, large conglomerate companies with greatly diversified interests.
In terms of value added by manufacturing (the difference between the price of materials and the price of finished goods), major manufactures in the early 2000s were radios, televisions, communications equipment (particularly televisions, telephones, and videocassette recorders), and transportation equipment (primarily automobiles). Other leading sectors were the manufacture of chemicals, machinery, food products and beverages, basic metals, and textiles.
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