A Korean research body has concluded that technology disparities between Korea and China in major industries including automotive are only five years apart.

The Korea Institute for Industrial Economics and Trade said in a report that over the next five years Chinese companies are likely to reach the technological capability level of Korean companies in most industrial segments.

In a survey of industry experts, the technology level of Chinese firms for mobile devices is expected to grow from 92 to 95 points in 2022, while the quality of automobile products was forecast to increase from 80 to 90 points, the state-funded research institute said.

The research said that in most industries, the presence of Chinese companies in foreign markets outgrew that of Korean companies. For instance, Korean carmakers took 5.2 percent of the automobile market in 2014, behind Chinese firms, which held a combined 5.6 percent.

Chinese companies are catching up with Korean firms largely because of a government-led industrial growth strategy, the report says.

To keep a lead in the market, the Korean government should ease related regulations and revise the related system, the institute said in the report.

"Korean companies should also explore new industries and develop new products to differentiate themselves from Chinese rivals."