The meaning behind 998860-1234
The number sequence “998860-1234” can be found written on the Small and Medium-Sized Business DMC Tower in Sangam-dong, Seoul. The “99” means that small and medium-size businesses make up 99 percent of Korean companies, and “88” percent of workers in Korea are employed at one of the small and medium-size businesses. The “60” refers to the percentage of households whose members work for such companies, and “1234” comes from Article 123, Clause 4 of Korea’s Constitution that states, “The state shall foster organizations founded on the spirit of self-help among farmers, fishermen and businessmen engaged in small and medium industry and shall guarantee their independent activities and development.”
A breakthrough for the Korean economy in the low-growth era will come from the enhanced competitiveness of small and medium businesses. However, last year, the total export of small and medium-size companies was $102.6 billion, only 20 percent of Korea’s total export of $559.6 billion. The technology field is especially suffering from a deficit of $5 billion to $6 billion every year. Technology companies are dependent on exporting goods, and they failed to respond to the changes in external factors such as the exchange rate and distribution channels. In fact, exports in the technology field can contribute to cooperative relationships with trade partners and create new markets. Moreover, it will also help the creative economy, the core task of the administration.
The average annual growth of the total export of non-technology small and medium businesses was 2 percent between 2010 and 2013, but the growth of technology innovation companies was 13 percent, six times more. The Small and Medium Business Administration’s third five-year plan for technology innovation (2014-18) states that technology competitiveness, the primary goal of the innovation-oriented companies, should be enhanced from the current 77 percent to 90 percent.
These technology companies are constantly working to advance to other countries and create a convergence business model. The 15th Innovative Technology Show held on Sept. 17 invited over 50 buyers from around the world for export consultation sessions with 180 Korean companies.
This year, Korea’s little league baseball team won the championship title in the Little League World Series. Korea’s small and medium businesses’ technological prowess is highly competitive in the global market if they are given the right opportunities.
Sung Myeong-gi, Chairman of InnoBiz Association