[Letters] A global path for SMEs

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[Letters] A global path for SMEs

I have read the Samsung Economic Research Institute column “A global path for SMEs” by Kim Jung-woo with great curiosity to find something concrete from Korea to help draw up lessons for India.

It is satisfying to know that 99 percent of companies in Korea and 88 percent of all manpower in Korea are made up of small- and medium-sized enterprises.

This observation is not digestible to me, as an economist who has a firm understanding of the functioning of micro - SMEs in India.

During my brief stay in Seoul since Aug. 31, I tried to understand, analyze and interpret how the Korean economy functions to use what I learned as a role model for us.

It is sad and frustrating to observe that the entire domestic market of Seoul is full of “Made in China” products, with a long list of things I have purchased for my stay in Seoul.

Why?

One explanation given to me by some marketers and Koreans on the street is that it is due to cheap labor in China. Korean industries are getting their products made and produced in China.

Even if this explanation is valid, I fail to understand the “Made in China” stamp on it all.

I think my observation needs to be taken very seriously by the Korean government, which is otherwise doing a wonderful job as a moderator and coordinator among various countries.

I place on record a word of appreciation for 40 percent of exports from SMEs in Korea but it should not be at the cost of domestic consumers.

This may lead to negative implications with far reaching consequences which may go beyond the control of the government if appropriate and timely measures are not taken.

The Bibigo chain, known for bibimbap, can do wonders in Korea and the entire world if it markets itself as a strictly vegetarian Korean dish. Kimbap can also be a good breakfast, if it is vegetarian.

Even Seoul is certainly a strong case for publicizing SME products with a “Made in Korea” stamp.

To build a firm foundation for SMEs on a global path to encourage self employment opportunities everywhere, including Korea, there is a need for an international definition for micro or SMEs.

This sector of the industry can do wonders if adopted by multinational corporations as their ancillary and as a part of their corporate social responsibility with the ideas of “creative capitalism” and “trusteeship.”

Let us put our brains together to treat the unemployment problem with a solution and emerge from this global issue.


Professor M.M.Goel,

ICCR chair professor of Indian economy, Graduate School of International & Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul
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