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SKorea to open new stock market to foster startups

Elizabeth Shim, Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) -- South Korea's bourse operator says it is opening a new stock market to help startups raise money.

Korea Exchange Vice Chairman Choi Hong-sik said Friday the July launch of the KONEX market is intended to incubate small businesses that now rely on loans.

South Korean President Park Geun-hye places small businesses and tech startups at the center of her economic policies as South Korea faces slowing returns from conglomerates, or chaebol, which dominate business.

The environment remains unfavorable for startups. Choi said nearly all startup capital comes from bank loans.

He said KONEX will help startups find investors even before meeting the requirements of KOSDAQ, South Korea's equivalent of the NASDAQ.

Choi said the minimum investment for foreigners and locals in a KONEX-listed company will be 300 million won ($265,000).