SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) — South Korea’s exports of information and communication technology (ICT) products shot up a whopping 21.7 percent on-year in January on the back of strong overseas demands for chips, data showed Wednesday.

Outbound shipments of ICT goods came to US$16.3 billion in January, which marked the second-largest amount ever for any January, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Science and ICT. The country posted record high ICT exports of $17.6 billion in 2018 for January.

Imports came to $10.7 billion, resulting in a trade surplus of $5.5 billion, the data also showed.

By segment, exports of chips shot up 20.5 percent to reach $8.78 billion on the back of growing demand for memory chips in sync with the gradual recovery of virus-hit business activities. It marked the seventh consecutive month for the sector to post an on-year growth.

Displays were also among major winners, with their shipments jumping 32 percent over the period to reach $2 billion. The growth was largely attributable to the strong demand for organic light-emitting diode (OLED) products used in mobile devices.

South Korea’s exports of mobile devices jumped 76.3 percent on the back of the release of new models by local manufacturers.

Exports of ICT products to China, meanwhile, advanced 23.7 percent on-year to reach $7.41 billion, rising for the fifth consecutive month.

Shipments to Vietnam gained 18.9 percent on-year in January to reach $2.95 billion won, while those to the United States added 23.9 percent to $1.9 billion, the ministry data showed.

In January, South Korea’s overall exports rose 11.4 percent on-year. The country expects its shipments to continue to recover down the road for the time being on the base effect, along with strong demand for chips and other products.