81 sandboxes are approved, only 19 left to go

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81 sandboxes are approved, only 19 left to go

Just over halfway through the year, the government is more than 80 percent to its goal of approving 100 regulatory sandboxes in 2019.

On Tuesday, it announced that since it started reviewing applications on regulatory sandboxes in January, it has approved 81 cases.

A regulatory sandbox allows new businesses or technologies to be exempted from related regulations for a minimum of two years to encourage innovation.

“After reviewing and approving projects on the waiting lists, we believe we will easily reach 100,” said Minister of the Office for Government Policy Coordination Noh Hyeong-ouk.

The government said on average it has taken 44 days from accepting applications to reviewing the proposals, which is faster than the 180 days in other countries including Britain and Japan.

According to the government, innovative financial endeavors have received the most approvals for the temporary lifting of regulations, at 46 percent (37 cases).

The medical sector took second place, with 14 percent (11 cases), followed by manufacturing with 11 percent (9 cases), electronics and electrical with 10 percent (8 cases) and telecommunication and energy, each at 6 percent (5 cases).

Mobility, which has been one of the most controversial areas, facing strong resistance from the existing industry, received three approvals

Among the government departments, the Financial Services Commission (FSC) led, approving 43 percent of the regulatory sandboxes followed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (12 percent), the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (12 percent) and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (7 percent).

By technology, app-based platform technology received the most sandbox regulatory approvals, at 53 percent (43 cases); Internet of Things (IoT) came in second with 10 percent (8 cases); big data, 6 percent (5 cases); blockchain, 6 percent (5 cases); artificial intelligence (AI), 5 percent (4 cases); and virtual reality (VR) 4 percent (3 cases).

SMEs have received 80 percent of the approvals and conglomerates 16 percent, with half of those going to financial institutions.

Three state-owned company projects have also been approved for regulatory sandboxes. Two are from Korea Electric Power Corp., while one is by Korea Express Corp.

The government said already 14 percent, or 11 cases, have launched in the market or are currently in field testing.

By end of this month, 36 percent, or 29 cases, will be in service or be in field testing, and by the end of this year, 98 percent will reach this stage.

Since the beginning of the year, President Moon Jae-in urged swift and successful implementation of regulatory sandbox programs to drive the government’s innovative growth agenda as the income-led growth policy struggled.

In just the first day, the government accepted 19 applications, including several from conglomerates.

In February, the government approved its first regulatory sandbox: Constructing a downtown hydrogen fuel station implemented by Hyundai Motor.

However, the government has yet to approve some projects in sensitive areas.

The government said it plans mediate between new tech companies and existing services in the sharing economy, bio and health industry where strong social conflicts remain.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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