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Korean Hidden Champions & Candidates

The Korean Hidden Champions (KHCs) and Candidates selected by Korea Eximbank are the companies, operating in the market-based industries, with advanced technology and high growth potential, seeking to expand their businesses into the global market through their globalization efforts.

Data from Statistics Korea (2013)
Data from Corporate management analysis of BOK (2013)

As of the end of 2013, the average R&D investment to sales of the KHC Candidates was recorded at 4.1%, more than the quadruple of the national average at 0.97%, showing their emphasis on investment in technology. It is known that, on average, as many as 59 patents have been obtained by each of these KHC Candidates. Also, as of the end of 2013, the average export volume to sales of the KHC Candidates was posted at 65.3%, nearly four times higher than the national average at 17.4%, evidencing that the Candidates are strongly committed to globalizing their businesses and they have the capacity to meet their goal.

Furthermore, their average sales growth has been kept on a rising trend, standing at 6.7% as of the end of 2013, more than three times higher than the national average, 2.1%. Also, their average employment growth rate is posted at 4.9%, again, much higher than the national average, 2.8%, showing that these companies have stronger capacity of creating jobs than their average counterparts.

The Outcome of Hidden Champion Initiative
Since the Hidden Champion Initiative has been launched at Korea Eximbank in 2009, the average annual sales growth rate and employment growth rate for the last 5 years(2009~2014) have reached at 11.2% and 6.3% respectively, more than twice higher than those recorded by average SMEs and medium-large companies in Korea for the same period.

Also, the growth rate of export of the KHC Candidates showed higher than 3%p difference from that of average SMEs and medium-large companies.

In addition, the operating profits of the KHC Candidates for 4 years(2009-2013) showed higher than 3%p gap from that of the average SMEs and medium-large companies. In particular, the disparity was most prominent in the petrochemical industry.