South Korea



SK imports 97% of its energy needs so the country is seeking to reduce its dependency on oil and gas imports by generating power from renewables sources specifically from wind and solar powers and liquified natural gas, in this sense, opportunities exit in these areas to help the country increase its renewable capacity to achieve the goal of contributing to around 20% of SK’s total energy consumption by 2030.

In addition, the Korean government is focusing on policies to reduce the country’s green house emissions particularly in industry and buildings, these create opportunities in the development and application of green technologies including waste-to energy, fuel cell electricity generation, energy storage with a focus on storage integrated in wind farms and smart grid technologies.

Air quality is a huge issue in SK, in fact, the OECD in 2017 ranked SK’s air pollution in top 5 worst in the world, as a result, air pollution control technologies, products and services related to quality monitoring, industrial air pollution reduction and power plant emission reduction are growing in demand.   

Since water stress in SK, industrial water pollutions pose a huge threat to SK’s sustainable water use, this situation generates opportunities in water and wastewater treatment technologies, control and water metering to meet SK’s needs.

On January 17, 2019, the Korean president announced an ambitious road map to a hydrogen economy to produce 1.8 million hydrogen fuel cell cars, by 2030. This will create opportunities for Ontario companies to undertake R&D partnerships and/or participate in the Korean supply chain to improve efficiency and output.

Life Science

SK has the world’s most rapidly aging population, and this is driving major opportunities for Ontario companies in this market.

SK has a well-developed universal healthcare system offering niche opportunities specifically in medical devices such as radiotherapy/imaging equipment, implants and catheters in line with the population trend.

In addition, opportunities exist for new technologies such as AI, VR/AR simulation, and technology transfer or licensing particularly in oncology and treatment for chronic diseases as well as technology and services for elder care.

The bio-medical industry is receiving great support for the SKn government, this generates opportunities for the development of big data analytics and AI to support the development of smart fusion medical devices.

In the pharmaceutical sector, SK is one of the key pharmaceutical markets in Asia Pacific specially because of high long-term demand driven by its aging population, this creates opportunities to conduct joint R&D for new drug discovery.


SK is an advanced IT market with high income and technologically literate population. The country has strong IT and electronic production base with major global players and generous support from the government for the promotion of emerging technologies.

In terms of opportunities, it’s expected a strong growth driven by private and public sectors for software and services solutions such as cloud computing, data analytics, cyber security, and IoT.

Manufacturing is the largest vertical for IT solutions demand reflecting SK’s position as a leading global center for high value manufacturing.  A sub-category of manufacturing with growing demand is auto and related technologies.

Telecommunications including 5G and banking and financial services are also areas of opportunities for Ontario companies in SK.

SK has an exponentially growing market demand for AI specially because the country lacks capabilities and experts in AI due to SK’s “late” development of this industry in comparison to the US and Japan for example, and since the AI ecosystem in Ontario is considered top-tier, opportunities exist for AI solutions applicable SK’s industrial sectors.

Facts: South Korea

Capital: Seoul
Population (million): 51.85
Total Area: 100,266km2
Language(s): Korean

Comparative figures
T Korea Canada
GDP: ($ billion) 2,144.12 2,277.52
GDP/capita: ($) 41,356.05 60,806.37

Product Trade and Investment (2019)

Canadian exports to country: $5,554,811,941
Canadian imports from country: $9,670,334,015
FDI in Canada (2018): $2,398 million