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Asian-Owned Businesses Booming in the US

Asian-owned businesses in the United States grew at a faster rate than the national average, according to a report released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Asian-American firms had a positive impact on the U.S. economy, generating more than $326 billion in revenue in 2002. The U.S. Census Bureau's latest economic survey shows the number of Asian owned businesses grew 24 percent between 1997 and 2002.

The survey's project manager, Valerie Strang, says that's about twice the national average for all businesses in the U.S. "I think this shows that Asian-owned businesses are contributing significantly to the economy, not only in terms of just numbers of businesses, but also the revenue they're bringing in and the jobs they're creating."

Wholesale and retail trade accounted for nearly half of the revenue generated by Asian-owned companies, which employed more than 2.2 million people in the U.S. Among the biggest contributors: Indian-owned businesses, which have increased by 26 percent since 1997.

Ashwani Ahuja owns two restaurants outside Washington D.C. "This country has given me a chance to get where I wanted to be. That's why I do believe it's a land of opportunity."

Of more than one million businesses included in the survey, Indian-owned companies generated the most revenue -- up 32 percent, compared to 20 percent for all Asian businesses.

"Indian-owned businesses are mostly technology and software related businesses, or government contracting, so they deal in pretty big numbers, so that's why their revenue compared to other minority-owned businesses is much higher" said Ahuja.

Also among the top earners, the Vietnamese-American community. Tuyet Ton, who owns a travel agency in Northern Virginia, says her company has prospered because it caters to many needs in the Asian-American community.

"Here in our office, we do tax, accounting and also we do tailoring."

The boom in Asian-owned businesses comes as no surprise to some consumers. K.O. Rojanavongse believes the Asian work ethic, coupled with support from a tightly-knit community, is the key to success for many Asian American firms.

"You know, it's the pursuit of the American dream, but it's also the pursuit of a lot of material wealth that they wouldn't have otherwise. We're going to continue to grow more and more every year."

The Census Bureau projects the number of Asians living in the U.S. will double to more than 33 million by the year 2050.