As the four major Korean business groups are joining the U.S. government’s efforts to reorganize the global supply chains, Korean builders are enjoying an increase in orders from the United States. Among the 85 countries that placed construction orders with Korean builders, the United States ranked third in 2022, up from 11th in 2021 and 20th in 2020.
The four Korean business groups announced this year that they would invest about US$60.5 billion (about 80 trillion won) in the United States. The four are Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG. SK Group will invest US$22 billion, Samsung Electronics US$17 billion, Hyundai Motor Group US$10.5 billion and LG Group US$11 billion.
The expansion of the four groups’ investments in the United States is leading to an increase in overseas orders for Korean builders. The four groups place orders with their affiliated construction companies to prevent technology leaks. Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor plant will be built by Samsung C&T and Samsung Engineering. SK Ecoplant will build SK Group’s battery plant, while Hyundai E&C and Hyundai Engineering will take charge of Hyundai Motor’s plant. LG Group’s facilities will be built by GS E&C, which was previously an affiliate of LG Group.
The U.S. construction market is projected to further grow. President Joe Biden announced a US$2.25 trillion infrastructure investment plans in 2021, portending the expansion of the U.S. construction market. Global Data, a global consulting firm, predicted that the growth of the global construction market will slow down, but the U.S. construction market will grow by more than 2 percent this year. “The U.S. construction market will grow at a CAGR of 3.7 percent and reach US$1.89 trillion in 2026,” Global Data forecast.
The Korean construction industry’s order intake from the U.S. market amounted to US$943.23 million in 2021, 11th-largest among the 85 countries from which Korean builders received orders. But the U.S. construction market is expected to become more important for Korean builders in the years to come.