Konex for start-ups is in business

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Konex for start-ups is in business


Participants at the opening ceremony of the Korea New Exchange pose yesterday at Korea Exchange headquarters in Yeouido, western Seoul. From left: Shin Je-yoon, chairman of the Financial Services Commission; Kim Jin-kyu, acting chairman of Korea Exchange; and Kang Dae-seok, president and chief executive of Shinhan Investment Corporation. [NEWSIS]

The Korea New Exchange, the country’s third bourse also known as Konex, will serve as the foundation of a creative economy by allowing start-ups to grow at an early stage and make profit to reinvest, Shin Je-yoon, chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said yesterday.

“Ever since I became FSC chairman, I’ve continuously brainstormed ways for the finance sector to support creative economy,” Shin said. “One of the results is the Konex market.”

Shin’s remarks were made at the opening ceremony of Korea’s third stock exchange, exclusively for venture companies and start-ups. The other two markets are the Kospi and the tech-heavy Kosdaq.

While Shin in attendance along with Korea Exchange Acting Chairman Kim Jin-kyu and Shinhan Investment Corporation CEO Kang Dae-seok, the Konex market was officially launched.

Last week, Korea Exchange announced 21 companies to be listed on the Konex market after reviewing candidates submitted by securities firms. The firms were selected by the government to be responsible for evaluating companies seeking to be listed on the Konex and supervising them on the new market.

The 21 listed companies are from a variety of sectors, including bio-technology, semiconductors and software development.

Yesterday, on the first day of Konex stock exchange, a total of 219,600 shares were traded with a market value totaling 468.8 billion won ($413.9 million).

While retail investors are allowed to invest in companies listed on Kospi and Kosdaq, only professional investors, venture capitalists and high-asset holders are allowed to make investments considering the riskier business environment of the companies listed. Retail investors must have an initial deposit of more than 300 million won.

Shin, meanwhile, added that the Konex market will help small and midsize companies and venture companies to sprout new buds in an environment like “Death Valley,” referring to the big gap between early investment and profit-making for reinvestment.

According to Shinhan Investment Corporation, one of the supervisory brokerage firms, the number of venture companies in Korea increased 220.4 percent from 8,798 in 2000 to 28,193 in 2012. However, the number of newly listed companies fell from 178 in 2000 to 22 in 2012.

BY LEE EUN-JOO [angie@joongang.co.kr]
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