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Korean fried chicken places outnumber world’s McDonald’s

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Published : 2015-10-05 17:18
Updated : 2015-10-05 17:18

The number of fried chicken places in Korea has increased to outnumber McDonald’s outlets worldwide, data showed Monday.

According to Statistics Korea, there were 22,529 franchise-based fried chicken places in 2013, but over 30,000 when independently owned fried chicken places and bars that sell fried chicken are included.

Additionally, KB Financial Group Research estimated there were about 36,000 fried chicken places in Korea in 2013, with a 9.5 percent annual increase over the last 10 years.

The institute said that would make fried chicken places in Korea exceed the number of McDonald’s stores globally (35,429 as of 2013).

It is speculated that the boom of fried chicken places is due to baby boomers (born 1955-1963) setting up shop after retirement, as it takes relatively less skill to open a fried chicken place.

However, the problem is that most of them set up the business in order to survive, rather than trying out their business prospects.

In a study done by the Small and Medium Business Association in 2013, 82.6 percent of those surveyed responded that they set up shop “in order to make a living (no other alternatives).”

Additionally, only 16.4 percent of self-employed businesses survived from 2004 to 2013, and fried chicken places and cafes took up 22 percent of all closing businesses, according to the National Tax Service.

An official at Korea Institute for Economics & Trade said that businesses such as fried chicken places have a low-barrier entry, but are increasingly competitive and have turned into a “graveyard for salarymen.”

By Sang Youn-joo and news reports (sangyj@heraldcorp.com)