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Export Prediction Using Separated Learning Method and Recommendation of Potential Export Countries
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Yeongjin Jang (School of Business, Yonsei University)
Jongkwan Won (School of Business, Pusan National University)
Chaerok Lee (School of Business, Pusan National University)
Vol. 28, No. 1, Page: 69 ~ 88
Exports prediction, Machine learning, Separated learning, LightGBM, SHapley value
One of the characteristics of South Korea’s economic structure is that it is highly dependent on exports. Thus, many businesses are closely related to the global economy and diplomatic situation. In addition, small and medium-sized enterprises(SMEs) specialized in exporting are struggling due to the spread of COVID-19. Therefore, this study aimed to develop a model to forecast exports for next year to support SMEs' export strategy and decision making. Also, this study proposed a strategy to recommend promising export countries of each item based on the forecasting model.
We analyzed important variables used in previous studies such as country-specific, item-specific, and macro-economic variables and collected those variables to train our prediction model. Next, through the exploratory data analysis(EDA) it was found that exports, which is a target variable, have a highly skewed distribution. To deal with this issue and improve predictive performance, we suggest a separated learning method. In a separated learning method, the whole dataset is divided into homogeneous subgroups and a prediction algorithm is applied to each group. Thus, characteristics of each group can be more precisely trained using different input variables and algorithms. In this study, we divided the dataset into five subgroups based on the exports to decrease skewness of the target variable. After the separation, we found that each group has different characteristics in countries and goods. For example, In Group 1, most of the exporting countries are developing countries and the majority of exporting goods are low value products such as glass and prints. On the other hand, major exporting countries of South Korea such as China, USA, and Vietnam are included in Group 4 and Group 5 and most exporting goods in these groups are high value products.
Then we used LightGBM(LGBM) and Exponential Moving Average(EMA) for prediction. Considering the characteristics of each group, models were built using LGBM for Group 1 to 4 and EMA for Group 5. To evaluate the performance of the model, we compare different model structures and algorithms. As a result, it was found that the separated learning model had best performance compared to other models. After the model was built, we also provided variable importance of each group using SHAP-value to add explainability of our model.
Based on the prediction model, we proposed a second-stage recommendation strategy for potential export countries. In the first phase, BCG matrix was used to find Star and Question Mark markets that are expected to grow rapidly. In the second phase, we calculated scores for each country and recommendations were made according to ranking. Using this recommendation framework, potential export countries were selected and information about those countries for each item was presented.
There are several implications of this study. First of all, most of the preceding studies have conducted research on the specific situation or country. However, this study use various variables and develops a machine learning model for a wide range of countries and items. Second, as to our knowledge, it is the first attempt to adopt a separated learning method for exports prediction. By separating the dataset into 5 homogeneous subgroups, we could enhance the predictive performance of the model. Also, more detailed explanation of models by group is provided using SHAP values.
Lastly, this study has several practical implications. There are some platforms which serve trade information including KOTRA, but most of them are based on past data. Therefore, it is not easy for companies to predict future trends. By utilizing the model and recommendation strategy in this research, trade related services in each platform can be improved so that companies including SMEs can fully utilize the service when making strategies and decisions for exports.
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분리학습 모델을 이용한 수출액 예측 및 수출 유망국가 추천
장영진 (연세대학교 경영학과)
원종관 (부산대학교 경영학과)
이채록 (부산대학교 경영학과)
수출액 예측, 머신러닝, 분리학습, LightGBM, Shapley value
최근 코로나19 팬데믹으로 인해 전 세계 경제와 외교 상황에 급격한 변화가 일어나고 있으며, 수출 의존도가 높은 한국은 이러한 변화에 큰 영향을 받고 있다. 본 연구에서는 기업의 수출 전략 수립 및 의사결정 지원을 위해 차년도 수출액 예측 모델을 구축하고, 모델의 예측 결과를 바탕으로 수출 유망국가 추천 방식을 제안한다. 본 연구에서는 모델이 다양한 정보를 학습할 수 있도록 국가별, 품목별, 거시경제 변수 등 선행 연구에서 중요하게 사용된 변수를 다방면으로 수집하였 다. 수집한 데이터를 분석한 결과, 국가와 품목에 따라서 수출액의 분포가 매우 비대칭적인 것을 확인할 수 있었다. 따라서, 모델의 예측 성능을 향상시키고 설명력을 확보하기 위해서 분리학습 방식을 사용하였다. 분리학습은 전체 데이터를 동질적인 하위 그룹으로 분리하고 개별 모델을 구축하는 방식으로, 본 연구에서는 수출액을 기준으로 5개 구간으로 데이 터를 분리하였다. 모델 학습 과정에서 구간별 특성을 반영하여 구간1부터 구간4까지는 LightGBM을 사용하고, 구간5는 지수이동평균을 사용하였으며 이를 통해 모델의 예측 성능을 향상시킬 수 있었다. 모델의 설명력 확보를 위해서 추가로 구간별 모델의 SHAP-value를 계산하고 중요도가 높은 변수를 제시했다. 또한, 본 연구에서는 예측 모델을 기반으로 2단계 수출 유망국가 추천 방식을 제안했다. 효율적인 수출 전략 수립을 위해서 BCG 매트릭스와 국가별 점수 산출 방식을 사용하였고, 품목별 유망 국가 순위와 수출 관련 주요 정보들을 제공하였다. 본 연구는 다양한 정보를 학습한 머신러닝 모델로 여러 국가와 품목에 대한 예측을 실시하고, 이 과정에서 분리학습 방식으로 예측 성능을 향상시켰다는 점에서 의 의가있다. 또한, 현재 무역 관련 서비스들이 과거 데이터에 기반한 정보를 제공하고 있음을 고려할 때, 본 연구에서 제안한 예측 모델과 유망국가 추천 방식은 기업들의 미래 수출 전략 수립 및 동향 파악에 유용하게 사용될 수 있을 것으로 기대된다.
Cite this article
Jang, Y., Won, J., & Lee, C. (2022). Export Prediction Using Separated Learning Method and Recommendation of Potential Export Countries. Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems, 28(1), 69-88.

IEEE Style
Yeongjin Jang, Jongkwan Won, and Chaerok Lee, "Export Prediction Using Separated Learning Method and Recommendation of Potential Export Countries", Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 69~88, 2022.

ACM Style
Jang, Y., Won, J., & Lee, C., 2022. Export Prediction Using Separated Learning Method and Recommendation of Potential Export Countries. Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems. 28, 1, 69--88.
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author = {Jang, Yeongjin and Won, Jongkwan and Lee, Chaerok},
title = {Export Prediction Using Separated Learning Method and Recommendation of Potential Export Countries},
journal = {Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems},
issue_date = {March 2022},
volume = {28},
number = {1},
month = Mar,
year = {2022},
issn = {2288-4866},
pages = {69--88},
url = {},
doi = {},
publisher = {Korea Intelligent Information System Society},
address = {Seoul, Republic of Korea},
keywords = { Exports prediction, Machine learning, Separated learning, LightGBM and SHapley value },
%0 Journal Article
%1 863
%A Yeongjin Jang
%A Jongkwan Won
%A Chaerok Lee
%T Export Prediction Using Separated Learning Method and Recommendation of Potential Export Countries
%J Journal of Intelligence and Information Systems
%@ 2288-4866
%V 28
%N 1
%P 69-88
%D 2022
%I Korea Intelligent Information System Society