Pandemic and teleworking boost exports of computers and related equipment
SEOUL, AJU - Exports of South Korean personal computer products and related equipment have been on the rise thanks to robust demands as a coronavirus pandemic changed the global working environment, prompting many office workers in Europe and the United States to work at home for social distancing.
The global demand for personal computers (PCs) including desktop computers and laptops has been gradually reduced since 2011 when portable devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs replaced their bulky predecessors. The decrease accelerated due to the worldwide distribution of smartphones.
The COVID-19 pandemic has raised the popularity of teleworking. Global Workplace Analytics, a job market research firm, predicted that the number of teleworkers would reach up to 30 percent of the total in the U.S. by the end of 2021.
According to the Korea International Trade Association (KITA), exports of desktops, laptops, monitors, printers and computer parts such as solid-state drives (SSDs) stood at $3.18 billion in the first quarter of this year, accounting for 2.4 percent of South Korea's total exports. The volume was ranked ninth in the list of top ten goods, the highest since 2008.
Exports of wireless communication devices were of the same rank with $3.13 billion.
"Exports of IT-related items such as semiconductors, computers, home appliances, and wireless communication devices have increased as the number of telecommuting and indoor activities has increased and online traffic has increased due to the activation of online education, shopping, games and streaming services," a KITA official was quoted as saying.
Workers and employers favored teleworking because the work-at-home method increased productivity and creativity. Costs were saved as company operators do not need to rent large office areas while employers could save money on housing and gas consumed in commuting. A survey showed that more than a third of workers were willing to take a pay cut to telework.