GDP will incorporate sharing-services firmsThe central bank will include economic figures for the digital and sharing economy when calculating GDP starting in 2019 as the relatively new sectors expand in commerce and financial transactions.
The figures are not currently considered when measuring GDP but as the sectors grow rapidly, the Bank of Korea said Monday it will include them in the key economic index.
Currently, the sharing economy that includes companies like Airbnb isn’t correctly incorporated when deciding GDP.
The central bank said the market size of those businesses is quite small and accounts for 0.005 percent, or 82 billion won ($73.1 million), but is expected to rise significantly.
There are 1,400 businesses registered in the country that offer house-sharing services like those operated by Airbnb, the BOK said.
But the central bank pointed out that there will be more businesses operating without being registered, which eventually are excluded when calculating the GDP.
“We believe the economic impact coming from the house-sharing industry is very minimal but think we need to research more on this sector as it has a high chance of growing further from now on,” said Kim Hyun-jung, a researcher at the BOK.
Kim added that car-sharing services also are growing but that peer-to-peer carpool services are often excluded in the GDP measurement. Performance from the business-to-customer sector such as from premium taxi service provider Uber Black or car-sharing service company SoCar is included in the measurement.
“P2P-type car-sharing services are not currently included in the measurement but we believe the market size is quite small as the industry is now just starting to be developed. But we need to come up with ways to include these factors through researching various data such as household income and expenditure.”
Customers who use mobile apps operated by carpooling service providers Tikle and Poolus in the country find rides that offer cheaper prices than riding taxis.
Currently, carpool drivers are not mandated to report income made through the platforms.
The central bank said it will continue to research what might be missing when measuring the GDP. The bank will consider free services offered online such as search engines, map services and online encyclopedias like Wikipedia. The BOK has been criticized for not keeping abreast with changes in an economy that has become a lot more digitalized when measuring the GDP.
To better grasp the market, the bank will issue a report on business models and profit structures of internet-based platforms in the third quarter.
It will announce specific ways to assess businesses built on the sharing economy.
BY KIM YOUNG-NAM, PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]