The number of Asian-owned businesses grew 24 percent from 1997 to 2002, according to a new report by the US. Census Bureau.

New York, California, Hawaii and Texas were the states with the largest concentrations of Asian-owned firms, which number 1.1 million. They generated a combined revenue of $326 billion in 2002, up 8 percent from 1997.

Overall, there are nearly 23 million businesses in the United States which grew during the same period by 10 percent.

“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,” said Census Bureau Director Louis Kincannon.

In terms of size, almost 1-in-3 of all Asian-owned firms had paid employees, hiring a total of more than 2.2 million people while generating revenues of nearly $291 billion.

The breakdown of business ownership by ethnicity is 290,000 Chinese, 230,000 Indian, 158,000 Korean, 147,000 Vietnamese, 128,000 Filipino and 87,000 Japanese.

A review of Asian-owned businesses by county found that Los Angeles County, had by far, had the largest number in 2002 with 140,000 or 13 percent, followed by Queens County, N.Y., Orange County, Calif., and Honolulu County, Hawaii.

By city, New York. had nearly 113,000, Los Angeles, had 48,000, Honolulu, Hawaii had 22,000 with San Francisco, San Jose, Calif. and Houston following closely behind.

The report was compiled from the Census Bureau's 2002 Survey of Business Owners and is one of several that focus on businesses owned by women, hispanics, and blacks.