Korean exports to China plunged 9.4 percent in May on-year due to an economic slowdown in the world's second-largest economy.
It's setting off alarm bells for the Korean economy, whose growth is heavily export-reliant.
Exports to China make up the greatest share at a quarter of Korea's total exports.
What's particularly worrying is that a large chunk of Korean exports to China are in the form of raw materials or parts that are manufactured or reprocessed in China for re-exports to other countries.
China, increasingly shifting focus to domestic consumption from exports for its growth, the proportion of intermediate trade based on reprocessing dropped to 25 percent last year from 39 percent six years earlier.
This is why Kang Du-yong of the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade highlights a need to expand the range of Korean goods exported to China.
"One of the best ways for Korean exporters to weather the storm is to begin producing goods that can be sold in the Chinese local market, rather than goods that are merely used for reprocessing."
To help Korea's export companies respond to the changing landscape, Korea's trade ministry is planning to step in.
They plan to promote more marketing and export exhibitions, through related organizations like the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.