Sharing Economy Association Launches in Taiwan

The new group seeks to promote the digital ecosystem.

“Will Taiwan Share in the Sharing Economy?” was the title of the cover story in the December 2016 of Taiwan Business TOPICS. The recent inauguration of the 13-member Sharing Economy Association Taiwan (SEAT) suggests that question should definitely be answered “yes.”

SEAT, which was officially registered in May and introduced itself to the public at a news conference on July 25, describes its purpose as promoting a regulatory environment conducive to Taiwan’s innovative digital economy. It follows the establishment of similar associations in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, and South Korea.

“With both international and local players in the start-up community, we strive to build a platform for all stakeholders to exchange ideas and information,” SEAT said in a press release. “With a strong foundation in technology, Taiwan presents great potential for sharing businesses.”

The SEAT president is Andy Peng, who heads both the Avis Budget Group and Zipcar in Taiwan. The members of the organization include AppWorks, AsiaYo, Jackercleaning, GoGoVan, Lalamove, Uber, Uber EATS, USPACE, WeMo, Zipcar, Zhong Yin Law Firm, LCS & Partners Law Firm, and the Institute for Information Industry. Also attending the press event were academics, legal experts, and such officials as Minister Chen Mei-ling of the National Development Council, Commissioner Lin Chung-chieh of the Taipei City Government’s Department of Economic Development, and Legislator Yu Wan-ju.

Peng said SEAT will seek ways to enable Taiwan’s sharing economy to play a constructive rather than merely disruptive role. It will encourage the government to provide more space for sharing businesses to grow, citing the experiences of other countries to help regulators develop appropriate policies tailored to the Taiwan market and beneficial to society.

National Taiwan University College of Management Professor Chou Seng-cho addressed Taiwan’s strengths, weaknesses, and many opportunities in the development of a sharing economy. He noted that accounting firm PwC predicts that global revenues in the sharing economy will jump from US$15 billion in 2015 to US$335 billion by 2025. Whether it is the sharing of goods and services, space, or even medical expertise, “the sky is the limit,” he told the audience.