Don’t sti­fle in­no­va­tion

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

The prose­cu­tion in­dicted two ex­ec­u­tives of ride-hail­ing ser­vice provider Tada without de­ten­tion Mon­day on charges of op­er­at­ing the app-based mo­bil­ity plat­form il­le­gally. Lee Jae-woong, chief ex­ec­u­tive of car-shar­ing app op­er­a­tor SoCar, and Park Jae-uk, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Value Cre­ators & Com­pany (VCNC), a sub­sidiary of SoCar and op­er­a­tor of Tada, were ac­cused of run­ning a trans­porta­tion busi­ness without a li­cense.

Launched in Oc­to­ber 2018, Tada has gained pop­u­lar­ity by of­fer­ing a new type of ride-hail­ing ser­vice us­ing 11-seater vans. Korean laws al­low rented vans with 11 to 15 seats to be leased and Tada has been of­fer­ing this ser­vice. In Fe­bru­ary, an as­so­ci­a­tion of taxi driv­ers filed a com­plaint against Tada and the two ex­ec­u­tives, claim­ing that the firm was vi­o­lat­ing a law that only al­lows li­censed op­er­a­tors to of­fer paid trans­porta­tion ser­vices.

With the in­dict­ment, Tada’s fate will be in the hands of the ju­di­ciary.

It’s dumb­found­ing, how­ever, that Tada, a sort of in­no­va­tive busi­ness model that drew keen at­ten­tion in the era of the Fourth In­dus­trial Rev­o­lu­tion, will be dealt with by judges. Cer­tainly, there is no room for in­no­va­tion if new tech­nolo­gies and ser­vices are choked off by out­dated le­gal yard­sticks. Tada has emerged as the coun­try’s top ride-of­fer­ing ser­vice, se­cur­ing over 1.25 mil­lion sub­scribers and 9,000 reg­is­tered driv­ers af­ter a year of oper­a­tion.

The Moon Jae-in ad­min­is­tra­tion has been cham­pi­oning in­no­va­tive growth since its in­cep­tion. But when it comes to in­no­va­tion, there has been much talk but lit­tle ac­tion by this lib­eral ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The most im­por­tant thing is that when an ex­ist­ing in­dus­try con­flicts with a new in­no­va­tive ser­vice, the gov­ern­ment should make a judg­ment, fo­cus­ing on which would serve the public best. Korea will have no choice but to fall be­hind in global com­pe­ti­tion if it goes against the stream of in­no­va­tion, swayed by stake­hold­ers.

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