The future of the ‘sharing economy’ in Hong Kong will be shaped by how competition law addresses emerging digital innovators, such as Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit.
The new competition law could present an exciting route to fast-track businesses in the sharing economy that are currently completely transforming a number of sectors, including accommodation, skills and transport. Originally enacted in June 2012, the Hong Kong Competition Ordinance is set to come into force this December.
The law will be the city’s first general and cross-sector competition law, and is aimed at prohibiting the abuse of market power and anti-competitive agreements. This new legal framework could present an opportunity to help break up the current licensed taxi monopoly and be welcomed by sharing economy companies like Uber. At present, it still remains unclear how the taxi-hailing app should be regulated and while Uber continues to operate in Hong Kong, consumers may not be free to realise its full potential until the legal picture becomes clearer.