South Korea wired! A market opportunity and a rewarding partnership

A recent visit to Conoptica headquarters from Zenkoh, a key regional partner, yielded interesting insights into one of our leading overseas markets – and sets the stage for our growing collaboration, bringing our drawing die measurement tools to even more companies in Korea.

Although in common with many developed market economies South Korea presently finds itself facing headwinds, in recent years the country has nevertheless emerged as one of the world’s most successful – in fact becoming the seventh largest exporting country.

Between 2011 and 2014 its trade performance accounted for over USD 1 trillion for four consecutive years. As recently as 2021, it was ranked the tenth largest economy in the world overall and fifth in total exports[1]. With adequate currency reserves and good short-term foreign debt ratios, South Korea is set to weather the challenges of the present global economic climate. Its sovereign credit rating has remained stable.

Wire is a keystone of the economy

Central to its economy’s success, if not explicitly so, is the wire industry. A look at what accounts for the country’s export success quickly reveals why. Among the leading sectors are Integrated Circuits ($116B), Cars ($44.7B), Motor vehicles; parts and accessories ($19.3B), and Office Machine Parts ($18B). Korea’s is an economy with wire at its heart.

This, of course, means there is significant demand for high-precision drawing die measurement systems, something we at Conoptica were able to discuss in detail during a visit last month from our Korean partner, Zenkoh, from which we welcomed two executives, Ms. Seong Mingyeong (Sales) and Mr. Park Seungjee (Sales Manager). Both had trained on and were familiar with Conoptica systems and were eager to discuss the present Korean economic situation and the opportunities it represents for our joint endeavor.

Interestingly, notwithstanding the general economic adversity we’ve described above, the business of measurement systems has increased in the past twelve months and Zenkoh attributes part of its own success to being able to represent Conoptica in its domestic market – and to benefit from the close association with a well-recognized market leader.

We have a broad and established footprint in South Korea, with numerous systems installed, many with customers who also have a presence across the entire Asian region. Among these are Korea’s biggest die producers and steel wire manufacturers. Now, copper wire manufacturers too represent an opportunity.

Steel, copper, or both?

If you’re wondering “what’s the difference?” between the two, the answer is quite a lot. Steel wire is renowned for its strength and used in a wide array of products and applications – and is widely used in verticals including building materials, engineering components, and construction work.

Copper wire, in contrast, is renowned for its electrical conductivity and its ability to be bent into a variety of shapes. As such, it plays a central role in applications like cable wiring, computers and electronics – fields in which Korea is a leading player.

Where durability is the primary consideration steel will remain the option of choice, but particularly given the breadth of Koreas industry, both steel and copper wires have important roles to play.

Looking up

How big are the opportunities? In 2021, approximately 525 thousand metric tons of copper wire bars were produced in South Korea[2], around 5% up on the previous year. Meantime, the steel wire market is continuing to expand. Across the Asia region, it’s expected to be worth $96.87 billion by 2029, at a 5.8% CAGR[3]. With such volumes and the target industries, maintaining production and ensuring accuracy are key.

Zenkoh’s visit to Conoptica’s headquarters underlined the reality of these upbeat trends and the growing strength of our business in South Korea. Plus, of course, the importance of partnership with a trusted, local market leader. We expect to see a successful partnership continue to flourish in the coming months and years.

About Conoptica

Conoptica has been providing high tech camera-based measurement solutions for the metal working industry since the 1993. We make sure that the metal working industry has access to key quantitative data about their products and tools. Conoptica is the market leader for measurement equipment in the wire & cable industry.




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