Statistics Korea announced on March 5 that the number of "medium-sized" South Korean enterprises was 4,468 in 2017, equivalent to 0.7 percent of all South Korean for-profit corporations, and they accounted for 15.5 percent of Korea’s total industry sales during the same period. Those medium-sized enterprises’ sales totaled 738 trillion won in 2017, up 15.5 percent from a year earlier.
A company is defined as a medium-sized enterprise when it meets one of the four criteria – more than 1,000 employees on the payroll, assets exceeding 500 billion won, 100 billion won or more in equity capital, and annual sales of 150 billion won or more on average for three years.
In 2017, medium-sized enterprises increased the number of their employees by 8.9 percent to 1.36 million, which is 13.6 percent of the total employment of the country.
Earlier, the Association of High Potential Enterprises of Korea and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy conducted a survey on their employment from September to November last year. In that survey, 1,021 medium-sized local enterprises answered that they hired 253,952 persons in 2017, up 26.9 percent from a year ago.
In 2017, those enterprises’ total R&D investment added up to 7.2 trillion won with a year-on-year increase of 16.9 percent. The ratio of those wishing to be reclassified as smaller firms went down from 6.9 percent to 5.9 percent in 2016 and to 4.9 percent in 2017. Regarding family business succession, 69.5 percent of the survey respondents mentioned excessive inheritance and gift taxes as the biggest obstacle to the continuation of themselves.