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Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Small business prospects and items

Kyonghyang Sinmun has a piece on the prospects of small businesses for 2005; it's going to be a matter of struggle for survival (saengjôn kyôngjaeng). It's likely that there's going to be a big "structural adjustment" (kujô chojông) - we are familiar with that term already from the "IMF era" when it was applied for bigger businesses when slimming down the excessive (?) work force. One would think that "structural adjustment" would mean the disappearane of non-viable businesses, but if more and more people are likely to try to enter self-employment as Kyonghyang predicts, to me it'd seem like the number (and proportion) of barely surviving small businesses wouldn't decrease.

Good prospects: it's going to be a year of "well-being". Distinctive welbing items like "fusion samgyôpsal" and "sulfur duck" (yuhwang ori) are going be a good biz, as well as specialty shops for organic agriculture products.

Educational services like counceling for reading and essay writing (toksô, nonsul kwalliôp) and children's creativity games look like good ideas. Visiting children's photography (?), kamsông norihakkyo ("sensitivity playing"), café-type PC rooms, bed cleaning (yes! - ch'imdae ch'ôngsoôp) are would seem to be in favor. (But will they be viable businesses?) The article also mentions "price-crash" chicken and samgyôpsal places, but one cannot but wonder what's the quality of 5000W chicken or 3000W per person samgyeopsal.

Kotaji wonders in comments what the kamsông norihakkyo might actually be. Let's give it a try; I hastily put it as "sensitivity playing" - it might be a kind of a preschool children's play and education establishment which is supposed to develop children's kamsông. So let's give now Google a try.
First, seems that "emotions" would be better than "sensibility" for kamsông; at least in this Seoul Kyôngje article (via Naver) the head of a "emotion playing school" (what'd be proper English term?) franchise Wizisland uses the term EQ, "emotional intelligence", which is supposed to be developed in addition to IQ. So it's about having a new type of preschool children's education, which would not be so centered on memorization (amgi) entrance examinations. (Here's business info in Naver about opening an establishment like this.)
Taking a quick look also at another "emotional preschool" franchise, Wizmom, one cannot escape the feeling that it's the same old wine in new skins: "raising creative geniuses" (창의력 있는 영재로 키우는) is the slogan that the both have. Just a second... both Wizisland and Wizmom belong to the same company! The kamsông norihakkyo is apparently a term launched by this Wisisland company.

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