The number of start-ups increased massively last year as more and more baby boomers started to retire and opened their own small business.
Statistics Korea on Wednesday said the total number of businesses stood at 3.47 million last year, up 3.4 percent from 2010. This was the highest rate of increase since 5.1 percent in 1999.
"The number of retired baby boomers born between 1955 and 1963 is rising, and this appears to have led to an increase in the number of start-ups," said a Statistics Korea spokesman.
The number of start-up owners and their unpaid family members totaled 3.63 million, up 1.5 percent from the previous year and almost double the 0.8 percent rise in 2010.
The reason why the number of start-ups was much smaller than the 7 million tallied by Statistics Korea is that it includes only factories, offices, stores and restaurants but excludes street vendors.