The Ministry of SMEs and Startups announced on Dec. 30 that South Korea was home to a total of 36,503 startup companies and 810,643 employees, including 803,561 regular employees, were working for them at the end of last year. The average number of employees, 22, increased 15.8 percent in one year. For reference, 668,000 regular employees were working for the top four South Korean business groups, that is, Samsung, Hyundai Motor, LG and SK at the end of 2019.
Last year, the startup companies newly hired 117,000 persons, approximately 560 percent of the four groups’ new employment, and the number of full-time employees was approximately 250,000 in Samsung, 162,000 in Hyundai Motor, 152,000 in LG and 104,000 in SK.
The startup companies’ sales totaled 193.3 trillion won last year, when their average annual sales fell 0.47 percent year on year to 5.296 billion won. Their average operating and net profits were 120 million won and 24 million won, down 43.4 percent and 78.4 percent from a year ago, respectively. That year, the sales of Samsung, Hyundai Motor, SK and LG were 254 trillion won, 179 trillion won, 161 trillion won and 122 trillion won, respectively.
The R&D investment-to-sales ratio of the startup companies was 4.9 percent and the four was 1.7 percent. The ratio of the former fell by 0.6 percentage point in one year. The average capex of the startup companies jumped 71.1 percent to 210 million won. They owned 273,725 domestic industrial property rights, 53.6 percent of the total.