SEOUL, Dec. 29 (Korea Bizwire) — The South Korean government said Thursday it will strengthen legal and administrative regulations to rein in excessive concentration of power in the local platform market led by tech giants Naver Corp. and Kakao Corp.
In a comprehensive plan by the Ministry of Science and ICT, the Fair Trade Commission and other government agencies, the government will set up a new guideline targeting digital platform businesses, elaborating on specific rule-breaking cases in the sector.
The authorities will also revise anti-trust laws to tighten decision-making processes on merger and acquisition reviews in a bid to put the brakes on local platform operators’ business expansion.
Other unfair trade practices in app stores, including the compulsory in-app payment systems, will be subject to the government’s strict monitoring plan, the government added.
The plan also requires local platform operators, like Naver and Kakao, to build separate backup data centers to prevent service disruptions in case of disaster such as fire.
The move came as the South Korean government has vowed to come up with measures to lay the groundwork for fair competition in the online platform market after the nationwide service outage caused by a fire at a Kakao data center in October.
Kakao’s dominant chat messenger KakaoTalk, which has 43 million users in a country with a population of 51 million, was affected by the fire, leading to a massive disruption in services tied to the app, ranging from social networking and business to finance and transportation.