South Korea Most Innovative Companies – 2023

South Korea, currently ranked tenth in the Global Innovation Index by WIPO, has rapidly become one of the global innovation leaders. (Source) Over the past five years, the country has advanced in R&D, high-tech exports, and intellectual property generation, fueled by major companies like Samsung and LG. Recent government initiatives in AI, 5G, and biotechnology have further bolstered its innovation ecosystem. This article presents two lists of the most innovative companies: top firms based in South Korea and those headquartered elsewhere, ranked by patent counts. This article aims to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the most innovative companies in South Korea, highlighting the key players driving innovation in the country.

South Korea based Innovative Companies

RankCompanyPatent CountHQ CountrySector
1Samsung Electronics14505South KoreaElectronics
2LG Electronics6810South KoreaElectronics
3Samsung Display5567South KoreaElectronics
4Hyundai Motor5172South KoreaAutomotive
5Kia4906South KoreaAutomotive
6LG Display3879South KoreaElectronics
7LG Energy Solution2889South KoreaBattery Manufacturing Company
8Hyundai Mobis2180South KoreaAutomotive
9LG Chem2088South KoreaChemicals Manufacturing
10LG Innotek1655South KoreaElectronics
11Korea Electric Power1541South KoreaElectric Power Distribution Company
12SK Hynix1493South KoreaSemiconductors
13SEMES1308South KoreaSemiconductors
14Samsung SDI1111South KoreaBattery Manufacturing Company
15Samsung Electro Mechanics1087South KoreaElectronics
16KT&G864South KoreaTobacco Company
17Pohang Iron & Steel852South KoreaSteel Manufacturer
18Samsung Heavy Industries844South KoreaShipbuilding Company
19CJ CheilJedang820South KoreaFood Processing Company
20Green Plus Co Ltd750South KoreaStrawberry Farming Company
21HL Mando644South KoreaAutomotive
22Hanwha Ocean934South KoreaShipbuilding Company
23Hanon Systems585South KoreaAutomotive
24KT Corporation549South KoreaTelecommunications
25SK On Co Ltd522South KoreaBattery Manufacturing Company
26Lg Household & Health Care489South KoreaPersonal Care Products
27LX Hausys484South KoreaFlooring Manufacturer
28DONGWOO FINE CHEM456South KoreaChemicals Manufacturing
29Coway432South KoreaHousehold Appliances
30LS Electric423South KoreaAutomation
31Hyundai Steel393South KoreaSteel Manufacturer
32LIG Nex1383South KoreaAerospace & Defence
33Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power375South KoreaNuclear Power Company
34Hyundai Kefico375South KoreaMotor Vehicle Manufacturing
35Amorepacific356South KoreaCosmetics
36Hyundai Heavy Industries351South KoreaShipbuilding Company
37OSSTEMIMPLANT338South KoreaDental Implant Solutions
38SK Telecom337South KoreaTelecommunications
39Kolon Industries318South KoreaChemicals Manufacturing
40LG Uplus316South KoreaMobile Network Operator
41Hyundai Transys291South KoreaAutomotive
42Yura Corporation280South KoreaAutomotive
43LX Semicon252South KoreaSemiconductors
44Hl Klemove239South KoreaAutomotive
45Wonik IPS234South KoreaSemiconductors
46SEOYON E-HWA225South KoreaAutomotive
47Korea Shipbuilding & Offshore Engineering224South KoreaShipbuilding Company
48Bodyfriend222South KoreaHealthcare
49Nexen Tire222South KoreaTire Manufacturer
50Doosan Enerbility221South KoreaConstruction Machinery Manufacturing

Key Findings

This data reveals a broad range of technological domains indicating the diverse innovation activities across South Korea:

Electronics & Technology: Samsung Electronics (ranked 1st) and LG Electronics (ranked 2nd)

Automotive: Hyundai Motor (ranked 4th) and Kia (ranked 5th)

Display Technology: Samsung Display (ranked 3rd) and LG Display (ranked 6th)

Energy Solutions & Chemicals: LG Energy Solution (ranked 7th) and LG Chem (ranked 9th)

Telecommunications: KT Corporation (ranked 24th)

Semiconductor: SK Hynix (ranked 12th)

Industrial and Heavy Machinery: Pohang Iron & Steel (ranked 17th), Samsung Heavy Industries (ranked 18th) and Hyundai Heavy Industries (ranked 36th)

Healthcare & Biotechnology: OSSTEMIMPLANT (ranked 37th) and Amorepacific (ranked 35th)

Insights and Takeaways

  • The rankings demonstrate inclination towards technology (electronics, displays, semiconductors) and manufacturing (steel, shipbuilding) companies reflecting the strength of these sectors in the South Korean economy.
  • Large South Korean Conglomerates like Samsung, LG and Hyundai in the top 10 rankings have been listed indicating their significant role in the Korean innovation.

Foreign Innovative Companies in South Korea

RankCompanyPatent CountHQ CountrySector
1Qualcomm1866United StatesSemiconductors
2Applied Materials1292United StatesSemiconductors
3Apple1226United StatesTechnology
4Tokyo Electron1121JapanSemiconductors
5Semiconductor Energy Laboratory995JapanSemiconductors
7Google777United StatesTechnology
8Nitto Denko725JapanAdhesive Manufacturing
9Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing709TaiwanSemiconductors
10Lam Research637United StatesSemiconductors
11Philip Morris Products621United StatesTobacco Company
12Canon591JapanPhotograph Company
13Robert Bosch527GermanyEngineering & Technology
14JFE Steel482JapanSteel Manufacturer
15Vivo Mobile Communication453ChinaTechnology
16Sony451JapanElectronics & Information Technology
17Coupang451United StatesE-Commerce
18BASF445GermanyChemicals Manufacturing
19Shin-Etsu Chemical442JapanChemicals Manufacturing
20Sumitomo Chem Co Ltd439JapanChemicals Manufacturing
21Contemporary Amperex Technology438ChinaBattery Manufacturing Company
22Disco Corporation428JapanSemiconductors
23Snap Inc418United StatesTechnology
24Dow Global Technologies408United StatesChemicals Manufacturing
25Nippon Steel376JapanSteel Manufacturer
27ASML Netherlands373NetherlandsSemiconductors
29Nicoventures Trading Ltd368United KingdomTobacco Company
30Intel359United StatesSemiconductors
31Tecent America356ChinaConglomerate
32Resonac353JapanChemicals Manufacturing
33Corning345United StatesTechnology
34Sony Semiconductor Solutions338JapanImage & Sensing Solutions
35Beijing Baidu Netcom Science & Technology314ChinaInternet Services
36Merck Patent Gmbh312GermanyPharmaceutical
37Toray Industries307JapanIndustrial Products Manufacturing
38EM Technologies305United StatesMotor Vehicle Manufacturing
39ASM IP Holding BV301NetherlandsSemiconductors
40Dainippon Screen Mfg296JapanSemiconductors
41Nissan Chemical294JapanChemicals Manufacturing
42Xiaomi284ChinaConsumer Electronics
44Nike Innovate268United StatesFootwear
45KLA252United StatesSemiconductors
46Suzhou LEKIN Semiconductor234ChinaSemiconductors
47LINTEC233JapanAdhesive Manufacturing
48Oppo231ChinaConsumer Electronics
49Magic Leap229United StatesAugmented Reality
50Mitsubishi Gas Chemcal219JapanChemicals Manufacturing

Key Findings

The data set reveals the technological diversity in the innovation landscape:

Semiconductors: Qualcomm (ranked 1st), Applied Materials (ranked 2nd) and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (ranked 9th)

Technology: Apple (ranked 3rd), Google (ranked 7th) and Huawei (ranked 6th)

Chemicals Manufacturing: Nitto Denko (ranked 8th), BASF (ranked 18th) and Shin-Etsu Chemical (ranked 19th)

Automotive: Toyota (ranked 43rd)

Consumer Electronics: Sony (ranked 16th), Vivo Mobile Communication (ranked 15th) and Xiaomi (ranked 42nd)

Telecommunications: ZTE (ranked 26th)

Insights and Takeaways

  • Companies like Magic Leap (ranked 49th) and Snap Inc (ranked 23rd) represent progress in emerging technologies such as augmented reality (AR) and social media platforms.

These rankings showcases South Korea’s extensive innovation landscape, characterized by technological diversity and strong patent activities across various sectors. This diversity not only drives the country’s economic growth but also positions South Korea as a global leader in technological advancements and industrial innovation.

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Our comprehensive report provides an in-depth look into the patent portfolio. The report includes a breakdown of the patent portfolio across various technologies, listing the patent along with brief summaries of each patent's technology.