In 2022, India ranked 11th in Korea’s trade, 22nd in overseas investment, and 76th in development financing. These numbers suggest that India has been at the periphery of Korea’s international economic radar. This situation is about to change in a spectacular way. Consider three cases: (1) Hyundai is planning to expand its car production capacity from 700,000 to 1 million by the mid-2020s in India, where its largest overseas production base is situated. (2) Samsung has increased India’s share of its mobile phone production to around 20%. In India, Samsung is now producing high-end models and investing heavily in R&D. (3) The Korean government plans to rapidly expand development financing for India. The budget will increase ten-fold in 2024. The increase will be the largest among Korea’s priority partners, increasing India’s rank from 25th in 2022 to 7th in 2024. These three cases are important signals that suggest Korea has begun to make a big bet on India. Korea sees India as a competitive manufacturing base, a vibrant innovation hub, and a key strategic partner. Korea tends to take its time in considering a change of direction, but when it decides, it moves quickly. We are about to see this pattern repeated in Korea’s sprint to India.
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