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Asian-owned biz booming in US

May 17, 2006 14:37 IST

Asian-owned businesses in the US have surged and boosted the country's economic growth with Indian-owned firms raking in the most revenue by earning $3.8 billion, according to a Census Bureau report.

The number of firms owned by ethnic Asians locally rose 30 per cent, to 40,152, during 1997-2002, double the national rate of growth for all businesses and more than the 24 percent growth in Asian-owned firms nationwide, the report released on Tuesday said.

Asian-owned businesses accounted for more than $326 billion in revenue in 2002, an eight per cent increase from 1997. The South Korean community had the largest number of businesses, with 9,406, while Indian-owned firms in Washington area pulled in the most revenue.

The number of Indian-owned companies grew 46 percent to 8,707, and they earned $3.8 billion, the Washington Post reported. It was a trend driven by small-business aspirations, familial interests and larger global forces -- from the tech boom to the rise in government contracting and corporate outsourcing, it said.

"Asian businesses are different from other minorities in that they are using family connections and connections to their home countries to make these businesses work," said Ying Lowrey, a senior economist at the Small Business Administration.

"That kind of capital mobility within a global arena is important and has a positive impact on our economy." The number of local Asian-owned firms grew more slowly than did the number of Hispanic- and black-owned businesses, which increased 50 per cent to 28,936, and 38 percent to 67,213, respectively, during the same period.

But the Asian-owned firms tended to bring in more revenue, as Indian and Korean entrepreneurs in particular, many concentrated in scientific and technical fields, benefited from a boom in technology and security spending.

During the period included in the recent report, the revenue of Asian-owned firms increased 36 percent, to $10 billion.

Sudhakar Shenoy, president-elect of Indian entrepreneur association Tie-DC, said a number of Indian business owners have migrated to the Dulles corridor of Fairfax County because of the area's connection to the federal government.

Fairfax county had the largest number of Asian-owned businesses at 14,313, up 35 per cent from 1997 to 2002. The number of Asian-owned firms in Montgomery County rose 17 per cent to 10,819.

"So many Indian-owned high-tech companies have started getting 8(a) designations," Shenoy said, referring to the federal program that provides government contracts for minority-owned firms. "This has attracted highly educated and skilled Indian professionals, particularly in engineering."

Shenoy estimates that 80,000 people in the region are employed by Indian-owned firms. Tie-DC says it has 290 member companies that are Indian-owned.

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