10/28/2014

Is Seoul in this heated battle with Uber for no reason other than protecting a vested interest?

The Seoul Government is vigorously fighting to shutdown Uber.  We suspect other shared economy/new economy initiatives are soon to be on the government's radar.  

It sure seems like President Barrack Obama's Head of the Global Development thinks Uber and like technologies are a positive for the economy and consumers. Why such a vocal opposition from the Seoul Government?  

Mohamed El-Erianis the chief economic adviser of Allianz SE and the chairman of Barack Obama’s Global Development Council wrote an article that appeared, today, in the Korea Heard (syndicated). Mr. Mohamed A. El-Erian noted, in part that:
"Arriving earlier this week in New York at Penn Station, I joined many others in a rather slow-moving line for taxis. I did so out of habit. But a few minutes into my wait, I realized that the smart thing to do was to pull up the Uber app on my phone. In a few seconds, Uber linked me up with a car, which picked me up four minutes later.
The driver was courteous, and the vehicle was clean. And all this for a fare that was similar to what I would have paid for a traditional cab ― after a much longer wait, that is.
By finding a powerful way to improve the well-being of both passengers and drivers, Uber is transforming a mode of urban transportation that, for a long time, has seen little positive evolution in the provision of service.
Passengers get more than a pleasant phone interface to order their rides and monitor their progress. We feel incredibly empowered and enabled. We like that the fare is billed directly to a credit card that the company has on record; and that our feedback is solicited immediately and in a user-friendly manner.
All this becomes even more convenient when traveling abroad and needing a taxi, especially in Europe. No longer do people need to search for those elusive taxi stands, wonder about tipping practices, fidget with local currency and find the right way to ask for a receipt. Uber takes care of all that."
What do you think?

The full article may be found at: Uber and the Coming Disruption of Finance
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Sean Hayes may be contacted at: SeanHayes@ipglegal.com.

Sean Hayes is co-chair of the Korea Practice Team at IPG Legal. He is the first non-Korean attorney to have worked for the Korean court system (Constitutional Court of Korea) and one of the first non-Koreans to be a regular member of a Korean law faculty. Sean is ranked, for Korea, as one of only two non-Korean lawyers as a Top Attorney by AsiaLaw.