The Tsai government risks being known internationally as a tech ‘competition killer,’ just as it tries to reposition the country as a ‘digital nation.’
The News Lens
By: Edward White
“We respectfully request that further action on these competition-killing proposals be halted,” Michael
Beckerman, president of the United States Internet Association, wrote in a letter to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) this month.
The letter was prompted by the regulatory quagmire surrounding the world’s biggest ridesharing service and one of the best-known Silicon Valley startups, Uber, which continues to dominate headlines in Taiwan for the wrong reasons.
A suite of measures by officials, including meteoric proposed fines and a call to block access to the Uber application from mobile app stores, amounts to an “unprecedented targeting of a leading technology company and would effectively shut down ridesharing in Taiwan,” Beckerman says.
While the association’s letter focused on Uber and ridesharing, it easily could have been written about popular apartment-sharing business Airbnb, which remains illegal in Taiwan. And as Beckerman suggests, the regulatory minefield faced by new technology companies in Taiwan directly conflicts with the government’s stated vision of “becoming a digital nation and smart island.” [FULL STORY]