Tada debacle inspires a new political movement

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Tada debacle inspires a new political movement


Korea Internet Professional Association (Kipfa) members including Challenge and Sharing Chairman Lee Keum-ryong, fourth from left in front row; Korea Business Angels Association Chairman Koh Young-ha, sixth from left in front row; and Kipfa Chairman Koh Kyung-kon, sixth from left in back row, formed a political party in Gangnam District, southern Seoul, Thursday. [KOREA INTERNET PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION]

Call it the revenge of the nerds.

A group of tech entrepreneurs announced Thursday the formation of their own political party at the Early Bird Challenge Forum in Gangnam District, southern Seoul.

Their platform: deregulation.

Koh Young-ha, chairman of Korea Business Angels Association, Lee Keum-ryong, chairman of Challenge and Sharing, and Koh Kyung-kon, chairman of Korea Internet Professional Association (Kipfa), are leaders of the party.

About 100 people are supporting it at the outset.

They are tired of rules, laws and bureaucracies getting in the way.

IT entrepreneurs have in the past entered politics, but through established parties. Former People’s Party leader Ahn Cheol-soo and Rep. Kim Byoung-gwan of the ruling Democratic Party of Korea are two such examples. This is the first time the IT industry has stepped forward to form its own party and attempt to leap straight from the tech sector to the National Assembly.

They are just getting tired of waiting for establish politicians to take up their cause.

“Former presidents Lee Myung-bak and Park Geun-hye and President Moon Jae-in all promised a regulatory reform as soon as they were inaugurated.

But for the past 20 years, we missed our chances in the cloud, big data, drone, autonomous driving, blockchain and sharing economy technology because of the regulations,” Koh Kyung-kon said. “Since it will be hard to make a voice as a new member of the major parties, we have made our own party.”

Tada was the breaking point.

A sense of a common cause developed among many IT businessmen after Lee Jae-woong, CEO of car-sharing app operator Socar, and Park Jae-wook, CEO of Tada operator VCNC, were prosecuted under existing transportation laws and suddenly found themselves the target of new law.

“We could not just stand still when the government is stopping us from enabling more people to benefit from the cutting-edge technology. Just by looking at Tada, a woman in her 30s with a child feels safer and more comfortable to catch a Tada than a taxi on the street.

It does not make sense for the government to forbid her from taking the preferable service,” Challenge and Sharing Chairman Lee said.

The newly adopted system for choosing representatives, which will first be used in the general election on April 15, increased the chances for politicians from minor parties to be elected to the National Assembly.

“It does not make sense to ask for the government’s permission whenever we want to try something with new technology,” Chairman Koh Young-ha said.

“Just by securing one bridgehead at the National Assembly, we can monitor and make our point in front of the established political parties.”

He emphasized how they have no intention of becoming political leaders but only to experiment with regulatory reform.

They will begin on Tuesday to establish their new party, which will be organized using mobile devices. Once their declaration speech is made, the party will recruit promoters through social networking services. The party will be registered by March 17 after recruiting a total of 50,000 party members.

“We have no intention of holding any large offline rallies like the existing parties,” Chairman Koh Kyung-kon added, saying that the key is spending no money on campaigns.

The candidate for proportional representation will be IT businessmen in their 30s to 40s.

“We are only trying to support our junior businessmen and let their voices be heard,” Koh said. “It is difficult to measure the chances of success for now, but once it starts to catch fire, it may have destructive power by surprise,” Chairman Lee noted.

BY PARK MIN-JE [kim.yeonah@joongang.co.kr]
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