Internet Giants Take Fire in Korean Echo of China Crackdown

Kakao and Naver are South Korea’s main tech platforms. Collage by BoF.

Kakao Corp. and Naver Corp. plummeted, set for the most important declines in years, after South Korean lawmakers warned the nation’s web giants towards abusing their market dominance within the pursuit of earnings.

Kakao, which runs Korea’s greatest messaging and social media service, plunged greater than 11 %, on observe for its worst drop since 2012. Naver, which runs the messaging platform Line in addition to a number of apps, slid greater than 8 %, poised for its greatest loss in six years.

Kakao mustn’t observe the trail of the nation’s sprawling “chaebol” conglomerates in ignoring truthful competitors, Music Younger-gil, head of the ruling Democratic Social gathering, informed a discussion board hosted by fellow lawmakers, Yonhap reported. A separate report from DongA Ilbo mentioned the ruling get together has determined to concentrate on platform operators in its annual meeting audit beginning Oct. 1.

South Korea has been making strikes to rein in overseas and native tech companies, mirroring a months-long crackdown in China that’s erased greater than $1 trillion in worth for China’s largest companies. As in Beijing, regulators and politicians in Seoul have expressed considerations concerning the rising energy and valuations of web companies like Kakao, Naver and Coupang Inc. after the pandemic spurred an unprecedented surge in web exercise.

“Regulatory points usually are not simply one-time points,” mentioned Sung Jonghwa, an analyst at eBEST Funding & Securities Co. “When shares are performing extraordinarily nicely, regulatory points can take an even bigger toll.”

Kakao and Naver had been among the many most notable beneficiaries of the pandemic stay-at-home development in South Korea’s inventory market. Kakao continues to be up 78 % up to now 12 months, helped by the mega share floats of subsidiaries together with Kakao Video games Corp. and KakaoBank Corp., whereas Naver is up 32 %.

Korean lawmakers have lately focused huge tech and industrial complexes like Samsung Electronics Co. over monopolistic behaviour and corruption scandals. This week’s strikes are among the many strongest but towards the home web sector, which has grown to rival the normal conglomerates by way of company energy and market worth.

Along with the criticism of legislators, the sector can also be going through stress from monetary regulators. The Monetary Providers Fee mentioned Tuesday that on-line platforms that publicize monetary merchandise might grow to be topic to rules that search to guard customers.

By Shinhye Kang and Youkyung Lee

Study extra:

A Guide to South Korea’s Booming E-Commerce Market

The pandemic set off a web-based procuring frenzy in what was already one of many world’s most digitally savvy international locations. Right here’s what manufacturers have to know. | Web Giants Take Hearth in Korean Echo of China Crackdown


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