SEOUL, Dec. 28 (Korea Bizwire) — As of 2017, 762,000 South Koreans worked for venture businesses, which was more than the 750,600 employees working for Samsung and the four other largest conglomerates in South Korea.
The Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the Korea Venture Business Association revealed that the average number of employees at venture businesses reached 21.7 people, which was a 4.3 percent increase from last year (up 0.9 people).
Overall, the number of venture business employees has increased by more 31,000, a result that comes after venture businesses made effort to maintain staff despite difficulties in certain sectors, including the shipbuilding industry.
In contrast, large conglomerates continued to opt for ‘growth without employment,’ in which employment rates remained low despite high ratios of operating profits to revenue.
Total sales of all venture businesses were estimated to reach 225 trillion won (US$201.8 billion) last year, coming in second after Samsung Group (258 trillion won). Hyundai Motor Group ranked third (162 trillion won).
Average sales were 6.4 billion won (US$5.73 million), increasing by 8.9 percent over the previous year (5.8 billion won), thanks to the success of semiconductors, displays, and fine chemicals.
Average profits for venture firms were 267 million won per business, which was a 2.6 percent increase from last year (260 million won).
However, average net profits were 160 million won, falling by 8.9 percent from last year’s 178 million won.
The decrease in net profits despite larger operating profits comes as interest rates for venture businesses and other finance expenses increased by 11.5 percent compared to the previous year.
The average Debt to Equity ratio was 130.6 percent, which was slightly lower than the 136.8 percent recorded in the previous year.
This ratio was also higher than that at large conglomerates (95.5 percent), and lower than SMEs (163.2 percent).
Venture businesses used 3.5 percent of their sales on research and development, which was higher than last year (2.9 percent), exceeding both SMEs (0.7 percent) and large conglomerates (1.5 percent).
Among company founders, 64.2 percent studied engineering, while 79.8 percent of all venture firms owned research institutes or R&D departments.
Venture firms held an average of 8.7 industrial properties, rising by 0.6 from the previous year.
Asked about the quality of technology used for goods and services, 5.9 percent of venture businesses thought they had world-class technology, while 43.5 percent said they had the best technology in South Korea.
“Steady growth among venture firms over the previous year has contributed to keeping jobs,” said the ministry. “An optimistic outlook among venture firms has led them to invest more in R&D.”
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)