The proliferation of inexpensive Chinese goods presents a dual challenge for South Korea’s economy.

Amid the expanding presence of Chinese e-commerce platforms, a surge of inexpensive Chinese goods is inundating South Korea, creating a mixed bag of outcomes for its economy as it endeavors to reduce dependency on China, as indicated by scholars and consumer organizations. China, grappling with weakened domestic consumer demand amidst an economic downturn, has resorted to dumping goods onto global markets.

Consequently, South Korea has emerged as a pivotal hub for the transshipment of goods from China to third countries, predominantly those in North America and Europe. In 2023, the Incheon International Airport Corp. reported a significant uptick in the volume of foreign-made goods transported via air, with over 98,500 tons—an increase of 43.1% from 2022—of which 99.6% originated from China. North America represented 47% of the final destinations, while Europe accounted for another 31%.

Lee Hun-soo, an expert in air freight logistics and a professor at Korea Aerospace University, highlighted the strategic significance of South Korea’s logistical role, particularly given China’s anticipated economic slowdown in the coming years and the likelihood of increased exports of inexpensive goods by Chinese manufacturers.

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