The number of employees at local venture firms came to 764,000, which is almost the same with 769,395 posted by South Korea's six major conglomerates including Samsung Group.
According to the data compiled by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the Korea Venture Business Association, the number of employees at domestic venture firms stood at 764,000 and an average venture firm hired 22.9 staff. The data is based on a survey of 33,289 venture companies conducted last year.
The number of venture firms totaled 33,360 as of the end of last year. The combined revenue of local venture firms amounted to 228.2 trillion won (US$213.27 billion), up 3.7 percent from a year earlier, while their average annual revenue advanced 7.9 percent on-year to 6.85 billion won (US$6.4 million). Domestic venture companies had a higher growth rate than conglomerates that had seen their average revenue decrease for three years in a row, posting a minus 1.6 percent growth last year. However, the operating profit margin on venture firms slightly decreased to 4.4 percent last year from 4.6 percent in 2015, which was between 6.6 percent of conglomerates and 3.9 percent of small and mid-size companies.
The debt ratio of venture companies slightly improved to 144.6 percent last year from 155.4 percent a year ago. The figure was higher than 100.1 percent posted by conglomerates but lower than 175.9 percent by small and mid-size companies.
Domestic venture firms spared no costs to improve technical innovation. They allocated 2.9 percent of their revenue on research and development (R&D), which was higher than 2.4 percent at the previous year. The figure was also 1.9 times higher than 1.5 percent posted by conglomerates and 4.1 times higher than 0.7 percent by small and mid-size firms. Based on the R&D investment, an average venture company had 8.1 cases of domestic industrial property rights, up from 7.1 percent a year earlier.
About 18.6 percent of venture companies studied said their technical skills are at the same or higher than the world-class level, down from 22.4 percent in 2015. On the other hand, 54.4 percent of them responded that their technical skills are at the same or higher than the best in country, up 2.3 percent from 52.1 percent at the previous year. This showed a growing sense of crisis among venture firms that their technologies lag behind the advancement of the world’s best technology. Less local venture firms said they are facing financial problems compared to 2015, while more companies said they are facing troubles in securing qualified workers.