SEOUL, March 6 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean tech startups backed by the government created more than 1,000 jobs and boosted their sales last year, a survey showed Tuesday.
South Korea has provided technological, financial and other forms of assistance to promising startups to help them grow and make inroads in the global market.
The survey of 547 startups that received the government’s assistance showed the number of employees reached 5,020 at the end of 2017, up 48.5 percent from 3,380 in 2016.
The combined sales of the firms surveyed jumped 28.6 percent on-year to 371.2 billion won (US$345 million) in 2017, according to the survey released by the Ministry of Science and ICT.
The ministry said sales by these companies in foreign countries came to 71.8 billion won, accounting for 19.3 percent of their total in 2017. The numbers are a sign that promising startups have been able to expand their presence in foreign countries.
Yoo Young-min, minister of science and ICT, vowed to strengthen support to startups to make sure that promising startups can create more jobs and boost the economy.
The survey also showed that the startups attracted 142.3 billion won in fresh investment last year, up 27.7 percent from 2016.
SendBird, a chat solution for mobile and web applications, raised 17.3 billion won from investors in Silicon Valley in the United States, according to the ministry.
MINDsLab, an artificial intelligence platform firm, attracted 4 billion won in funds from South Korea’s policy lender Korea Development Bank and KEB Hana Bank, a private lender, last year.
South Korea has taken a series of steps to boost startups in a country where many people are still reluctant to take risks and start their own businesses, mainly because failure carries social stigma and makes it hard for a person to rebound.