Why go the morally low route?I was perturbed to read the Korea JoongAng Daily’s article about Naver’s wholesale theft of other companies’ ideas for their own profit. It is a despicable practice that indicates a lack of morality and ethics within the Korean corporate community. As Korea continues to move forward as a global player, Korean companies must be wary of the fact that not all business cultures in the world look favorably upon such behavior. The Korean government does little to protect smaller companies and regulatory actions (with laughable fines) that are met with opposition and legal twisting and turning from targeted companies.
Much more must be done to protect the intellectual property of small start-ups so that potential innovators will not be stifled by overbearing giants like Naver stealing their ideas and using them to dominate the market with copycat products. The only way a country can continue to prosper is through innovation, and innovation can only be achieved in an environment where people with new ideas have a nurturing, intellectual environment in which they don’t have to fear another company swooping in to steal ideas without fear of repercussions.
Stronger regulations and a regulatory body that can enact punishment with teeth to offending companies are necessary if Korea can hope to truly establish itself as a country that can wield influence on a global scale.
And also I must ask, how can Naver and its parent company justify intellectual theft? With a 70 percent market share and billions of won in assets, doesn’t NHN have the resources to have its own creative team to develop new products and to purchase much smaller start-up companies with products it deems to have potential? Why go the morally low route?
It is such a horrible thing to do. I just hope that Korean corporations quickly become cognizant of that.
by Kim Min-Seok, Student at The University of Hong Kong