Korea’s Shipbuilding Market Outlook: Challenges In Catching Up To China’s Dominance


  • Despite Korea’s strategic focus on high-value vessels like LNG carriers, a recent report suggests that overtaking China’s shipbuilding market share remains improbable due to China’s formidable competitiveness and expanding market reach.
  • Amidst Korea’s concerted efforts to bolster its shipbuilding industry by prioritizing high-value vessel orders, experts caution against overly optimistic expectations of surpassing China’s shipbuilding dominance.
  • A recent report sheds light on the challenges Korea faces in narrowing the gap with China’s formidable shipbuilding prowess.

The Export-Import Bank of Korea’s Overseas Economic Research Institute highlights China’s overwhelming advantage in shipbuilding capacity and competitiveness. With China’s expanding market reach and increasing orders, Korea’s aspirations to overtake China’s market share appear increasingly remote. While Korea maintains a strategic focus on maintaining production capacity and quality management, overcoming China’s stronghold remains a formidable task.

Evolving Landscape of Shipbuilding Market

China’s shipbuilding strategy has evolved beyond price wars to emphasize technological advancement and diversification of target markets. The institute notes China’s increasing presence in the large ship market, exemplified by securing significant container ship orders. This diversification poses additional challenges for Korea, particularly in securing orders for container ships, a crucial segment for its shipbuilding industry.

Korea’s Strong Performance Amidst Challenges

Despite the uphill battle against China’s dominance, Korea demonstrates resilience in securing substantial orders, particularly in LNG carriers and VLACs. Notably, Korea’s success in winning Qatar’s LNG carrier project orders underscores its competitiveness in niche markets. However, the absence of container ship orders highlights the need for diversification and strategic adaptation to evolving market dynamics.

As Korea navigates the complexities of the global shipbuilding landscape, strategic foresight and adaptability will be crucial in maintaining its position as a leading shipbuilding powerhouse. Despite the formidable challenges posed by China’s dominance, Korea’s continued focus on innovation and quality management holds the key to its long-term success in the shipbuilding industry.

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Source: Business Korea


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