Korean economy leans heavily on ChinaUpdated: 2014-07-23 14:32:00 (KST)
Korea's Myeong-dong shopping district is a beehive of activity at all hours of the day, and that activity is driven more and more by Chinese customers these days.
Korea's biggest credit card company Shinhan Card says the amount of money Chinese tourists spent in Korea on credit cards shot up over 80 percent last year to around 3.8 trillion won, or roughly 3.7 billion U.S. dollars from the same period a year ago.
That is almost half of what all foreigners spent in Korea.
Chinese investors have also taken a greater interest in Korea.
They funneled more than 1.3 billion dollars into Korea's securities market from December last year through May this year.
That's the largest amount of any country.
Korea's real estate market is another example.
The land that Chinese nationals own in Korea's southernmost resort island of Jeju stands at around 3 million square meters, roughly the same amount that Americans own on the island.
When turning the attention to exports, which is Korea's traditional growth engine, the significance China holds in the domestic economy grows even bigger.
Last year, China took up almost 60 percent of Korea's trade surplus, while that figure stood at less than 8 percent in 1998.
Exports to China also stood at 134 billion dollars last year, making up more than 20 percent of all of Korea's exports.
Experts say it's important that Korean companies continue to improve their products and services so they can continue to attract Chinese customers and their money.
Hwang Ji-hye, Arirang News.
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