Will big tech monopolies grow in power throughout COVID-19?
Updated: 2020-07-09 05:59:42 KST
The coronavirus pandemic has been a huge boost for tech companies, as more and more consumers use digital platforms, subscribe to more services and use online payment services. And many of these services are based on just a small handful of providers.
But the more people start to rely on these platforms, the more powerful they become to the extent that they can set the terms and conditions including the price and commission they charge.
In other words, it looks like big tech companies are building up monopolies and there's concern that regulators are struggling to keep up with them and consumers are losing their voice.
To discuss this more in detail, we connect with Dr. Yang Jun-sok, Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Korea.
Of course, the nature of business is to maximize profits but are big tech firms abusing their power?
Here in South Korea, we've seen the use of platform businesses spike during the COVID-19 pandemic. There's been a lot of talk surrounding , the country's biggest food delivery platform, merging with another widely used food delivery service. What are the main concerns here?
Monopolies have the power to set the market price. The biggest regulatory complaint against IT giants like Apple is how it runs its app store. Apple's 30 percent commission on App Store purchases has been deemed abusive by services like Spotify.
Is there a right amount they should charge?
Apple pushed back on the investigations in the European Union, saying its products promote competition. Do you agree? What limits do current competition laws have when it comes to reigning in the internet giants, and what makes it difficult for regulators to do so?
We also see huge tech firms which arguably have monopolistic power enter other areas of business, for instance, Google make smartphones and is delving into self-driving car technology, while Amazon enters the health care market. Should this be allowed, and how can we make sure they are playing fair?
Here in Korea, there have concerns about firms monopolizing online payments. The country's biggest online portal Naver has been seeking to expand Naver Pay, and they already have a huge advantage due to the sheer number of users and personal information they have. What are your thoughts on this? What are the dangers do consumers face in big tech monopolizing financial transactions?
Should big tech companies be broken up? How should they be regulated?
What's the danger of allowing companies to continue as they do throughout this pandemic?
This is where we'll have to wrap up the show but thank you for joining us today. Dr. Yang Jun-sok, Professor of Economics at the Catholic University of Korea.