S. Korean firms make global top 10 list in 9 biz sectors

SEOUL, Jan. 22 (Yonhap) -- South Korean companies made the global top 10 list in only nine of the 26 major industrial sectors, reflecting the focused nature of the country's businesses, local data showed Wednesday.

According to the data based on sales in the July-September period of 2013, South Korean companies are doing well in information technology (IT), semiconductors, shipbuilding, steel and autos but trailing leaders in such areas as distribution, pharmaceuticals, banking and insurance.

The data was compiled by CEO Score, an online corporate productivity evaluation site.

Samsung Electronics Co. ranked No. 1 in terms of sales in the IT sector, outpacing such giants as Apple Inc. and Microsoft Corp. Samsung sales, excluding consumer electronics, stood at US$124.3 billion compared to Apple's $116.4 billion and Microsoft's $58.9 billion. LG Electronics ranked 10 among IT companies.

In the shipbuilding arena, South Korean yards made up six of the 10 largest companies in the world, led by Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. The shipbuilders' accumulated sales reached $36.7 billion followed by rivals Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Samsung Heavy Industries Co. that made the top three.

In the steel sector, POSCO's total sales placed it second after Luxembourg's ArcelorMittal S.A. and ahead of Japan's Nippon Steel Corp., while in the mobile phone arena Samsung with sales hitting $97.8 billion finished not far behind Apple's $116.4 billion. Samsung makes more phones, but Apple sales were greater.

CEO Score said Samsung finished second again in semiconductors behind Intel Corp. with SK Hynix Inc. coming in fifth place.

South Korean companies such as Hanjin Shipping Co. and Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. ranked second and eighth in terms of sales in the shipping business dominated by AP-Maersk, with Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Motors Corp. ranking a combined sixth place in sales as of September. Germany's Volkswagen A.G. led the pack, followed by Toyota Motor Co. and Daimler-Benz A.G.

Large companies, moreover, did well in petrochemicals with many ranking between 10-20.

Despite these successes, not one South Korean bank made the global top 20 that was dominated by firms from China, the U.S. Japan and Britain, with the dismal showing being repeated in the insurance field.

The latest findings showed that KT ranked 16th overall in the telecommunications sector.

Besides these areas no South Korean pharmaceutical company made the top 40, with companies such as LG Household