Innovation has played a leading role in South Korea’s development since its independence. The Korean government ensured a strong R&D culture from the outset, setting the stage for the nation's ascent as a global innovation powerhouse. In 2022, South Korea was ranked 6th out of the 132 economies in Global Innovation Index1.

In addition to fostering innovation, South Korea has strategically cultivated capabilities to maintain a leading position in the fields of electronics, semiconductors, automobiles, shipbuilding, and mobile phones with the help of notable chaebols (conglomerates) like Samsung, SK Group, POSCO, and LG amongst others. Furthermore, it ranks first in the world for digital display technologies and third in terms of broadband Internet users among OECD nations. 

Viewed through an economic lens, South Korea has undergone rapid growth, solidifying its status as the world's fifth-largest exporter in 2021. Its primary exports include integrated circuits, automobiles, and petroleum2. On the domestic front, South Korea achieved an impressive GDP per capita of USD 32,255 in 2022, ranking as the fourth largest in Asia3.

Another intriguing aspect of South Korea is its cultural industry, which has left an indelible mark on the global stage. The world of K-Pop music (from bands like BTS) has achieved an all-time high sales revenue of around USD 7 billion in 2021. The country's influence extends to the cosmetics and personal care industry as well, creating a unique branding known as K-Beauty. In 2023, the Beauty and personal care market will generate a total revenue of USD14.61 billion, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 2.25%4.

MVIS® South Korea Index (MVKOR) which tracks the performance of the largest companies incorporated in South Korea was up almost 16% in YTD 2023. 

MVIS® South Korea Index


Source: MarketVector. Data as of September 30, 2023.

Sources1: Statista,,and%20rank%2017%20in%202018

Sources2: OEC,

Sources3: Worldbank data,

Sources4: Statista,


Kinjal Shukla is the Index Researcher and Data Engineer at MarketVector. She is responsible for the design and development of MarketVector indexes and for creating data infographics. Kinjal has cleared FRM Level 1 having come from a risk profile in Barclays, India. She has a degree in a Master of Science in Financial Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, USA, and an MBA-Tech degree from NMIMS-MPSTME University, India.


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