Starting a Small Business Remains Mired in Red Tape

It costs W3.5 million in administrative charges to start a business in Korea, 29 times more than in Auckland, New Zealand, where it costs just W120,000 (US$1=W1,073).

And a start-up takes 5.5 days to launch here, 10 times longer than the half-day required in Auckland, which was the best city to start a business.

The Institute for International Trade analyzed the report "Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises" by the World Bank and said the environment for start-ups in Korea ranks a poor 34th out of 189 countries.

Administrative costs for start-ups in New York City are W800,000 and in Shanghai W120,000.

The proportion of start-up costs to gross national income per capita in Korea was 14.6 percent, 3.7 times higher than the OECD average of 4 percent.

The proportion was a mere 0.2 percent of per-capita GNI in top-ranked Denmark and 0.3 percent in New Zealand and the U.K.

The World Bank report analyses the cost, time, and process needed to start a small or medium-sized business in major cities around the world.

"Compared to advanced economies where all you need to create a business is to register it, Korea has too much red tape that makes it more difficult for people to start their own business," said Chang Hyun-sook, a senior researcher at the institute. / Feb. 03, 2014 13:17 KST