June 01, 2012 09:54
Combined overseas orders for Korean builders exceeded US$500 billion (US$1=W1,180) on Thursday when Hanwha Group won a $7.75 billion deal to build a new town in Iraq. Korea won its first overseas construction order in 1965 for a $5.4 million highway in Thailand.
The accumulated total now stands at $501.1 billion, according to the International Contractors Association of Korea. The curve has been exponential, with the accumulated amount exceeding $100 billion in 1993 and $400 billion in 2010.
Overseas construction orders amounted to less than $10 billion a year until 1980. Then the building industry prospered due to a boom in the Middle East, with orders exceeding $10 billion a year. But it slid back into recession due to falling oil prices and the financial crisis.
But since 2005 it revived thanks to a surge in orders to build factories and other plants abroad. The annual amount of overseas construction orders exceeded $70 billion for the first time in 2010.
The Mideast topped a list of customers with orders of more than $300 billion. Deals in Saudi Arabia alone reached upwards of $100 billion. Recently, Singapore, Africa and Latin America have emerged as new strategic markets.
Plants with $270 billion accounted for more than half of the orders from abroad.
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