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South Korea: KFTC head and tech CEOs in name-calling spat

 |  September 11, 2017

The chief of South Korea’s antitrust watchdog, who built his reputation as a “chaebol sniper,” is facing flak from local IT industry leaders after calling Naver founder Lee Hae-jin a figure who “lacks vision for the future,” unlike Apple founder Steve Jobs.

Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) Chairman Kim Sang-jo criticized the Naver founder, who he had recently met over the Korean internet giant’s listing on a new corporate watch list, in a recent interview with local newspaper Kookmin Ilbo.

“A company of Naver’s stature needs to harbor a vision for the future,” Kim said. “However, Lee was unable to present such a vision to our society, unlike Apple’s Steve Jobs.

“Though I conversed only briefly with Lee, I felt he had shortcomings in those aspects. If Naver continues to proceed as it does now, it will continue to face many complaints,” he continued.

On the other hand, Kim had previously lauded President Moon Jae-in as a leadership figure resembling Steve Jobs in another interview with a local media outlet.

The remarks by Kim, a longtime activist for shareholders’ rights, has ignited criticism from Korea’s IT industry pioneers, including Lee Jae-woong, who founded Korea’s second-largest portal website Daum Communications, and Ahn Cheol-soo, the founder of Korea’s largest antivirus software company AhnLab and chairman of the People’s Party.

The Daum founder said in a public Facebook post Sunday, September 10, that the KFTC chief was “insolent” in characterizing the Naver founder who had “singlehandedly built Korea and Japan’s biggest IT companies without any government help” in such a way.

Full Content: Korea Times

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