US: Asian businesses boom

The number of Asian-owned businesses grew at more than twice the national rate for all U.S. companies from 1997 to 2002, the government said Tuesday.

There were 1.1 million Asian-owned businesses in 2002, a 24 percent increase from 1997, according to a Census Bureau report. The overall number of U.S. businesses grew by 10 percent during the same period, to nearly 23 million.

Asian-owned businesses generated $326 billion (Ђ254 billion) in revenues in 2002, an 8 percent increase from 1997.

"The robust revenues of Asian-owned firms and the growth in the number of businesses provide yet another indicator that minority entrepreneurs are at the forefront as engines for growth in our economy," Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon said in a statement.

Nearly three in 10 Asian-owned businesses had paid employees other than the owner. Among all businesses, about a quarter had paid employees.

New York City had more than twice as many Asian-owned businesses as any other city, with 112,853. It was followed by Los Angeles, Honolulu, San Francisco, San Jose and Houston.

The Census Bureau defines Asian-owned businesses as those firms in which Asians hold at least 51 percent of the stock or interest. The report does not classify public companies, with publicly traded stock, because they can be owned by many stockholders of unknown races and ethnicities.

The report was the fourth in a series on businesses owned by women and minorities. The three previous reports, on businesses owned by women, blacks and Hispanics, showed that all three groups started new businesses at faster rates than white non-Hispanic men from 1997 to 2002. However, white males continued to own more businesses than any other group, reports AP.