South Korea's biggest shipbuilders Samsung, Hyundai, and Daewoo have set their sights on the international cruise liner market. Samsung aims to break into the market in 2006, the other two are looking at 2010. The South Koreans' plans have been quite obvious in recent newspaper articles and discussions with the authorities some time now. Lately, South Korean shipyards have started gathering information on the price determination of other shipbuilders.
South Korea's shipbuilding industry is doing extremely well at the moment. Based on current orders, the five largest shipyards in the world are all Korean. This year, South Korea has secured 55 percent of the new shipbuilding contracts in the world. However, the industry feels threatened by the cheaper labour offered in China and intends to move up market into the more complex and lucrative cruise liner business.
In recent years, shipyards in the EU countries have been losing bids to their South Korean competitors and often accused the Korean government of unfair industry subsidies. As a countermeasure, the EU has also started paying subsidies to the shipyards of its member states.