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August 14, 2009

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Grads find start-ups tough going

TWO years after graduating from Beijing's prestigious Tsinghua University, 25-year-old Wang Yichen already owns three fashion accessories stores situated in bustling business areas of the capital.

On graduation, Wang, unlike most of her classmates, chose to run her own business instead of applying to well-known companies.

But she is only one of a small number who took the risk of going into business on her own and made it work.

Although about 75 percent of China's college graduates are passionate about running their own businesses, less than 2 percent actually realize their dream, according to a survey published yesterday.

Of businesses set up by college graduates, 23 percent were now operating on a sound basis, nearly half had been closed and the remainder were considering changes, the survey said.

Commissioned by the Ministry of Education, the survey covered nearly 16,000 students in 117 colleges nationwide.

The survey found imbalances caused by students' lack of high-tech skills and inadequate support from industries.

In some cases a major setback is opposition from parents.

"I didn't tell my parents for six months that I was running my own business," Wang said. "Even after that, I did not dare to tell them I was selling accessories."

The advertising major admitted her plan was to make money. "A sense of achievement came second," she said.

Sharing similar goals, Xiong Long was not so lucky. The 20-something tried 30 banks to raise money for his company, Jiandongfang Cultural Communication Co Ltd, but his plans didn't work out as the first batch of products over-ran delivery time.

"But I've learned more about society and now understand competition and cooperation, which are more valuable than having made money," he said.

Statistics showed that 5.29 million graduated from college last year. About 86 percent of them had found jobs by the beginning of this year. Only 1 percent of these graduates had set up their own businesses.


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