Few Korean students want their own start-up

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Few Korean students want their own start-up

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Korean college students are less inclined to start their own company than their peers in China, according to a survey conducted by the Korea International Trade Association (KITA).

Of the 534 college students surveyed from Korea, China and Japan, only 6.1 percent of Korean students said they were interested in building a start-up, while 40.8 percent of their Chinese counterparts expressed a desire to do so.

Only 3.8 percent of the Japanese students wanted to create their own company.

Polled between Oct. 4 and Oct. 7 online, the survey respondents consisted of 179 Koreans, 169 Chinese and 186 Japanese nationals who attend either college or graduate school.

The Korean students who didn’t want to start their own business overwhelmingly cited risks associated with being self-employed as the reason for their reticence.

But even those Koreans who were interested in becoming entrepreneurs were largely interested in low-value industries like restaurants or other food-related businesses (31.3 percent).

Among Chinese students, on the other hand, the most popular industry was technology (20.1 percent).

The trade association noted that the success of Chinese tech startups Xiaomi, Tencent and the now publicly traded Alibaba all contributed to the preferences of students there.

Aspiring entrepreneurs from China also appear to be more ambitious than their Korean and Japanese peers, as 84.6 percent of them have plans to go global with their businesses.

Only 32.4 percent of Koreans and 16.7 percent of Japanese also intend to take their businesses overseas.

The survey results could put a damper on the government’s efforts to promote start-ups and support young tech entrepreneurs under its Creative Economy initiative.

“All three countries are pulling resources to support tech entrepreneurs and help young people start their own businesses,” said Kim Bo-kyung, a researcher for an institute operated by KITA.

“But the government needs to emulate successful support programs in China and Japan to better support them.”


BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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