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The sources of east Asia’s industrial prowess

By Keun Lee

25 Apr 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

A corporate structure capitalizing on both family ownership and professional management has been the key behind the success of many South Korean firms, notes economist Keun Lee.

SEOUL – As the United States works to limit China’s access to advanced technologies like semiconductors, it cannot ignore its own dependence on small Asian economies like South Korea and Taiwan for many of those same technologies. The question the US and its allies must ask, then, is how reliable these economies are as producers.

Examining South Korea’s industrial successes can go a long way toward providing an answer. It is by now old news that the Korean giant Samsung Electronics has surpassed Japan’s Toshiba and America’s Intel to become the world’s top chip producer (by revenue). But South Korean industry’s prowess extends well beyond semiconductors.

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