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Seoul's Mayor Shares Vision For A Sharing Economy, Will Help Foster Local Startups

By February 15, 2017 at 5:54 am
Mayor plans to make Seoul a role model for sharing economy (Photo : Dan Istitene | Getty Image Korea)

Park Won-soon is the mayor of South Korea's capital Seoul and has a goal of making his city a global role model for sharing economy. The idea is to foster local startups that will lessen the economic reliance on big Korean companies such as Samsung and LG.

Samsung and LG has lorded over the economy of Korea that breached into politics resulting in a scandal that involved the impeachment of the president. The recent scandal is one of the reasons why the mayor is pursuing a more open economy where small businesses can also thrive.

However, Park Won-soon isn't extending the same courtesy to other start ups that shared the same concept. His actions towards global startups is a stark contrast to his vision for Seoul. This is despite the fact that Korea is known for being a tech-savvy country thanks to the success of Samsung and advancements in the internet.

Several start ups that have grown worldwide are having trouble penetrating the South Korean market. Uber, the popular ride sharing app had an ugly relationship with the country that resulted in founder Travis Kalanick get indicted. Airbnb is facing pressure to delete their alleged illegal accommodations and is currently facing complaints from the government.

Park says that his city wouldn't survive without these start ups but his actions prove otherwise. Startups are allowed to operate in the city but has to follow the rules the mayor implements. It is because of his actions that local startups that have similar functions of these globally known apps are able to thrive in the city.

Meanwhile Park denies that he favors local startups and protects them from their more popular rivals. He says that international startups should abide by regulations that he deems are reasonable and at the same time rectify the unreasonable ones.

The mayor's vision of having a sharing economy for Seoul will certainly help the economy grow by allowing startups to prosper. But by the looks of it, only the local startups will benefit from Park's city.

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