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Chinese companies are eroding Korea’s dominance in the global LNG carrier and OLED panel markets. 

Major Korean industries such as displays, batteries and shipbuilding are facing a threat from China.

Chinese companies are overtaking Korean companies in the global market by increasing their price competitiveness based on support from the Chinese government.

The combined global market share of the three major Korean battery makers — LG Energy Solution, SK On and Samsung SDI – contracted due to the rapid rise of their Chinese rivals. As of November 2022, their combined share stood at 23.1 percent, a 7.4 percentage points drop in one year. During the same period, China’s CATL, the world’s No. 1 battery maker, drove up its market share to 37.1 percent. LG Energy Solution accounted for only 12.3 percent of the market, losing its second place to China’s BYD. SK On and Samsung SDI placed fifth and sixth with 5.9 percent and 5.0 percent, respectively.

The Korean display industry handed over its No. 1 position to China in 2021. China is also in hot pursuit of Korea in the organic light emitting diode (OLED) panel market. Samsung Display and LG Display overtook Japanese display makers in 2004 through bold investments and technology development. However, Chinese display makers rose to the top in LCD panel production. If this trend holds, Korea may lag behind China in the OLED industry, some analysts warn.

China is also on a steep upswing in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier market, which has been led by Korean shipbuilders. Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering predicted in a conference call on Dec. 3 that its LNG carrier order intake in 2023 will decrease to half the level of 2022. Korean companies had almost monopolized the LNG carrier market, but China has been gaining ground in this market since 2022. China’s share was 7 percent in 2021, but rose to 30 percent last year.

 

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