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SMEs favor zero tolerance for tech stealing by big biz: poll

2018/01/14 09:35

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SEOUL, Jan. 14 (Yonhap) -- South Korea's small and medium enterprises (SMEs) favor zero tolerance towards technology stealing by big companies, a poll carried out by an umbrella business organization showed Sunday.

The survey conducted by Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business (K-Biz) on 500 subcontractors that work with the country's 12 largest business groups, revealed 35.4 percent calling for no leniency for technology theft.

The findings also showed 33.6 percent of SMEs demanding expansion of punitive damages for such wrongdoings with 47.4 percent demanding the government expedite steps to support companies that have suffered from such unfair practices.

The poll comes as the incumbent Moon Jae-in administration has vowed to protect the rights of SMEs vis-a-vis larger companies, who in the past have been accused of using their market dominant positions to unfairly possess technology and knowhow developed by their subcontractors. The smaller companies fearing the loss of contracts were usually helpless to prevent their technology being taken over by their larger companies without proper consent or compensation.

K-Biz said 56.6 percent of those polled said the government's policy plan on mutually beneficial cooperation between large companies and small and medium firms would alleviate problems facing smaller businesses.

Of those checked 45 percent called for the sharing of profits generated by big businesses as a way to advance collaborative partnerships between large and smaller companies.

The latest findings then showed SMEs supported the designation of businesses that should only be run by small firms with little over a quarter of companies polled asking for the expansion of the business coexistence support fund for smaller companies.

They said that the country's overall business environment can be improved if fair trade rules related to subcontract laws were followed to the letter.

"The findings reveal there are high expectations that the Moon government will help promote fair competition and win-win partnerships that can benefit all businesses," a K-Biz official said.