JANUARY 2003

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Chinese-Korean Immigrants Participate in Korean-Owned Businesses
From JoongAng
Dec 08, 2002

By Kim JongHoon

Recently, ethnic Korean residents in China who moved to New York City increasingly participate in Korean-owned businesses, both wholesale and retail.

According to Choi DongChoon, the president of the Korean-Chinese Association in New York, Chinese-Koreans have begun to initiate their own businesses over the last two years. Just two years ago, the number of businesses owned by Chinese-Koreans was around five, but now, it has increased to about 30 stores in New York City and is expected to increase to about a hundred in next two years.

Lee HyunCheol, who owns a retail-wholesale shop in Jamaica, Queens, started his own business earlier than this trend. He was the national wrestling coach in China and obtained a green card in 1993 as a professional skill holder in sports. He initiated his business six years ago.

Lee pointed out, "Korean-Chinese are opening a various small businesses such as nail salons, shipping companies and restaurants." He added, "I am impressed by our performance. After early years of efforts, we finally have the ability to run our own business." His business, "Beauty Life," expanded to make 200 million dollars’ revenue a year, including both retail and wholesale.

When Chinese-Korean immigrants first immigrated to work, most women used to start as employees of nail salons or restaurants, and men used to be employed in manual labor. Recently, however, they have begun to open their own businesses, using their capacity to speak both Korean and Chinese.

Choi, who initiated a firm for floor construction last year, said, "We have a high potential because we can attract Chinese customers at the same time and are able to trade products with firms in mainland China." He urged Korean-owned businesses to interact with Chinese-Korean businesses because the Chinese-Korean can be a bridge connecting the Korean and Chinese communities.

Translated from Korean by JooYeon Lee

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