SEOUL, April 15 (Yonhap) — The amount of investment in South Korean startups touched a record high in 2020 amid hopes of high returns and policy support, a state-run lender said Thursday.

A total of 4.3 trillion won (US$3.85 billion) was invested in startups last year, up from 4.2 trillion won a year earlier and 3.4 trillion won in 2018, according to the Korea Development Bank (KDB).

The new record comes as the strong performance of the tech-heavy secondary stock market. The KOSDAQ index closed 0.40 percent up at 1,014.42 on Wednesday after breaching the 1,000-point mark the previous day.

South Korea’s venture investment is expected to gather further momentum down the road as the government is set to implement the Korean version of the New Deal over the next five years in an effort to jump-start the economy.

Amid a new venture investment boom, the KDB said it is moving to establish a venture capital subsidiary in Silicon Valley, California, in the second half of this year.

The envisioned company will be tasked with helping local startups make inroads into America and providing support for promoting South Korean unicorns, unlisted startups with a valuation of more than $1 billion, the KDB added.

The headquarters of the Korea Development Bank in Seoul (Yonhap)