THE number of private enterprises and individual entrepreneurs has grown tremendously in the past year in the wake of patriarch Deng Xiaoping's visit to southern China in February, 1992. The difference between private enterprises and individual entrepreneurs is that of size - a private enterprise consisting of eight or more people, while those run by less than eight people are categorised as individual entrepreneurs. At present, there are 408 private enterprises in the city, compared with 237 in 1992. There are more than 70,000 individual entrepreneurs, against 61,000 in 1992. ''Comrade Deng's visit to the south started to boost the number of private enterprises and individual entrepreneurs in the city,'' said Wu He, deputy department head of the Individual Enterprises Economic Administration Department at Kunming's Industry and Commerce Administration Bureau. The relaxation of the entry restrictions for individual entrepreneurs after the visit also helped, he added. ''For instance, retirees used not to be allowed to be private entrepreneurs, but they can be now,'' he said. Although the private sector still does not contribute much to the city's economy, which is dominated by state enterprises, it is growing in importance. ''They have very good prospects in the city, judging from their rapid development and increasing scale,'' he said. ''These last few years, most of them were profit-making operations, although the keen competition resulting from increased numbers also saw the bankruptcy of 7,000 private entrepreneurs last year. They were those with smaller amounts of capital,'' saidMr Wu, noting that fewer bankruptcies were reported in previous years. ''It is difficult to run private businesses given the keen competition, as they are still adapting themselves to the market economy from the previous planned economy,'' he said. Existing private enterprises have a total capital of 112.8 million yuan (about HK$99.8 million), compared with 46.7 million yuan in 1992. There are 16 businesses with registered capital of one million yuan or more, and one has registered capital of more than 10 million yuan. About 57 per cent are manufacturers who last year made goods worth a total 57.1 million yuan. The rest of the private enterprises are in the commercial sector - including trading and retailing - which posted a total turnover of 33.8 million yuan last year. The private enterprises taken together gave a turnover of 90.9 million yuan last year, compared with 67.1 million yuan in 1992. Last year, the city's manufacturing entrepreneurs generated a total production of 214.3 million yuan while commercial individual entrepreneurs, mostly retailers including hawkers, posted a total turnover of 955.7 million yuan.