Record rate of Koreans are starting businesses

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Record rate of Koreans are starting businesses

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The number of new companies rose 2.5 percent last year to reach an all-time high of 96,000, a government agency in charge of small and medium-sized businesses said Tuesday.

The growth is the largest since 2000, when the Small and Medium Business Administration began compiling the data in its current form. The number of new companies has been rising for eight straight years.

There was notable growth in the media and telecommunications sectors, where technological development has fostered new businesses. Significant declines were seen in manufacturing, especially in the country’s shipping and shipbuilding industries, which are going through restructuring.

By sector, retail and wholesale grew the most. There were 1,533 more new businesses this year compared to last year. That was followed by media and related services with 634.

By contrast, the number of new manufacturing companies fell by 1,118 compared to last year.

New retail and wholesale businesses accounted for 22.7 percent of all new companies established last year. And even though the number of new manufacturing companies fell 5.5 percent last year, they still accounted for 19.8 percent of all businesses that were open.

The government report found that more people in their 30s or younger are opening up businesses, while fewer are being started by people in their 40s.

The number of Koreans under 30 that opened up businesses last year jumped 21.6 percent, and the figure for those in their 30s rose 2.3 percent. During the same period, the figure for those in their 40s dropped 0.8 percent.

“It appears that the government’s efforts to expand support for young people starting businesses have helped the number of businesses owned by people younger than 30 go up,” said Lee Jun-hee, a director at the Small and Medium Business Administration.

Even though the number of people in their 40s starting businesses dropped last year, they still accounted for a majority, about 35.8 percent of new enterprises. That was followed by people in their 50s, at 27.1 percent, and those in their 30s, at 22.3 percent.

By region, Sejong, Gangwon and Seoul saw the number of new businesses rise, while some metropolitan areas in other regions such as Busan, Daegu and Gwangju saw a drop.


BY KIM YOUNG-NAM [kim.youngnam@joongang.co.kr]

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