Thu, Oct 29, 2015 - Page 3 News List

Man, 25, finds riches ant-farming

‘ANT EMPIRE’:A man who asked to be called Ray turned his childhood obsession with ants into a lucrative business that has earned him up to NT$200,000 in a single month

Staff writer, with CNA

A 25-year-old man, known by the pseudonym Ray, unintentionally started a business of breeding and selling ants, adding that it has allowed him to earn as much as NT$200,000 (US$6,119) a month.

The 1111 Job Bank yesterday said a survey conducted on its registered members also showed that 85 percent of young people (born between 1981 and 2001) are willing to start their own businesses, and that the types of businesses that they favor the most are mainly food-related.

However, some people take a completely different path to create a new market space, and Ray is one of them.

Ray said he often went hiking with his parents when he was little and fell in love with nature, especially ants, so he developed a hobby of observing ant colonies.

He said he had to collect information on ants from many foreign Web sites because there are not many books on ants in Taiwan, and all the information he absorbed allowed him to gradually become an “ant expert” who won second prize with a study on ants at a science fair in high school.

Having noticed potential business opportunities, he sold ants for between NT$250 and NT$8,000 — earning about NT$10,000 a month during his junior year in college, he said, adding that the experience led him to think about starting a business.

Three months after being discharged from military service, Ray spent about NT$1 million, partly from his savings and partly from a youth entrepreneurship loan, on equipment to build his “ant empire.”

The business allowed him to earn an average monthly income of between NT$40,000 and NT$50,000, but even reached NT$200,000 one month, much more than the average income of most young people.

Ray said although his parents questioned whether he could make a living selling ants, the purpose of opening his own business was not only to sell ants, but also cultivating and growing different species of ants, as well as allowing people to learn about and protect the insects.

Ants may be used for food, medicine or biotechnology in the future, he said, adding that he started raising funds by showing his work online this year, and several companies have expressed interest in working with him.

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