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Regulatory sandbox support center launched

Non-face-to-face health care, shared economy projects under consideration



South Korea’s first public-private sandbox support center was launched Tuesday with the aim of removing regulatory hurdles to new innovative businesses.

The regulatory sandbox system allows for the relaxation of regulations to accommodate certain innovative products and services. The government adopted it early last year in an effort to promote innovative growth in all industries.

On Tuesday, the sandbox support center, set up at the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry in January, officially kicked off after the revision of the enforcement decrees for related legislation. The center will act as a bridge between ministries and companies by offering consultations, the KCCI said.

The launch ceremony was attended by Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun, KCCI Chairman Park Yong-maan, and business leaders including Samsung Electronics President Rhee In-yong and Hyundai Motor President Kong Young-woon.

“More and more young people are trying to do new things despite the difficult environment. But the attempts seemed to be blocked or their business models are ‘cut out’ due to the system to prevent risks in advance,” said KCCI Chairman Park at the ceremony.

“In this situation, the regulatory sandbox is considered the last bastion for young entrepreneurs. If the National Assembly fails to legislate or a passive administration blocks their project, the sandbox may be the last place they visit.”

Since January, more than 100 companies have sent in applications seeking the relaxation of regulations to make way for their new products and services. The KCCI said, “Screening for 57 projects is already underway, mainly non-face-to-face health care and shared economy (projects). There are many surprising business models, although we cannot disclose them now because screening is underway.”

After the launch ceremony, Prime Minister Chung presided over an on-site meeting, where business leaders urged the government and lawmakers to innovate laws and systems so that more companies can do new things.

Samsung Electronics President Rhee said he hopes more innovative products and services will be poured out through the sandbox system to speed up the transition to a digital economy. Hyundai Motor President Kong said the establishment of the private sandbox support center could be expected to increase convenience and accessibility for companies.

Kim Ki-woong, CEO of WeCook, whose business got the green light from the regulatory sandbox last year, said, “Permission for a shared kitchen has opened the door for innovation in the food and beverage industry.”

“After permission (was granted), annual sales doubled and the cost of starting a food maker dropped sharply from 100 million won ($81,512) to 4 million won.”

Han Jung-hoon, CEO of Homesaeng, which got permission to hire housekeepers directly, said, “We are continuing to hire regular housekeepers. We will serve as a bridgehead for the settlement of wages, employment and stability for platform workers.”

By Shin Ji-hye (shinjh@heraldcorp.com)
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