Let the bullet fly first

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Let the bullet fly first

The author is an industry news reporter of the JoongAng Ilbo.


A DJI Mavic 2 Zoom drone flies in a netted area during the 2019 CES in Las Vegas, Nev., on Jan. 9. [REUTERS/YONHAP]

In 2012, China’s DJI drone manufacturer merely made skinny toy helicopters. Only five years later, in 2017, the company surprised the world by unveiling a drone that can be controlled by hand gestures for the first time in history.

Didi Chuxing — China’s Uber — is operating in more than 1,000 cities around the world, targeting more than 60 percent of world population as customers. The amount of credit the fintech subsidiary of Alibaba — China’s Amazon — has is 100 trillion won ($89.5 billion) as of February 2018, 3.7 times more than the top two commercial banks in China.

The companies leading China’s fourth industrial revolution have one thing in common: at the beginning, they were not under government regulation at all.

There is a famous phrase about the Chinese government’s attitude towards start-ups. “Let the bullet fly first.” When countless bullets of new industries are fired, more will hit the target of the fourth industrial revolution.

The United States is the cradle of start-ups. Its policies encouraging new businesses surpass those of China. When the U.S. government makes new regulations for new technology, it follows the principle of “Do no harm.”

Regulations that harm the growth of new technology should not be made. The British government included “do less” in its 10 principles for digital service design to prevent government intervention. While thousands of start-ups are born in Silicon Valley each year, London has a start-up ecosystem on par with Silicon Valley.

It may be late, but the Korean government announced its ICT regulatory sandbox on Jan. 17. It corresponds to the trend of global standard to allow new businesses to emerge first and then supplement them when problems arise. Does it mean the regulatory obstacles are lifted?

As the system is implemented, inquiries flooded to the Ministry of Science and ICT. People were asking whether they would be allowed to start certain businesses. The ICT regulatory sandbox website had 6,000 visitors after the system was introduced, 20 times more than the 300-visitors average the system had before. The ministry held two-day offline info sessions in response to the overwhelming interest.

Last year, a company CEO said at the inaugural ceremony of Korea Start-up Forum, a group of start-up companies, “Why is it important to become a society where start-ups thrive? We can make a world where not just those who inherit big corporations get to win, but average people can become the best in the country and the world with their businesses.”

I hope countless new technologies and services will be launched in the regulatory sandbox. As existing industries are shaken and waves of fourth industrial revolution get stronger, here is the chance to nurture the best companies in the world.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 28, Page 30
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