South Korea’s Ministry of Science and ICT announced on Wednesday that it would investigate in-app market fees imposed on local app developers. Apple and Google’s platform in-app payment systems face investigation over claims of excessive charges to app developers using their platforms.
Some local businesses, including app developers, requested an inquiry from the government to investigate their in-app payment systems. The inquiry would determine if Google and Apple violate laws prohibiting telecom operators from preventing users from selecting other services.
Local developers claimed that the platform operators charge high payments from local developers.
The ICT ministry said that Google presently obliges local game apps on its platform to utilize its in-app payment system. The company keeps a 30 percent share for digital content purchases, which applies to all digital content apps.
The ministry said that it would check and verify mobile platform fees across the industry. The ICT would examine the possible impact on sales and app prices for consumers resulting from Google’s policy changes. It would also monitor and formulate policies that could manage the growing influence of platform providers.
The ICT ministry would serve as a mediator between platform operators and developers to protect consumer rights. The Telecommunications Business Act would contain new amendments based on the ministry’s findings effective in January next year.
The move came after local tech companies and app developers filed complaints against in-app payment systems required by Google and Apple on their platforms.
The two U.S. giant tech companies enjoy a considerable share of the industry. Google’s Play Store enjoy 63.4 percent sales share in Korea valued at 6 trillion won ($5 Billion) in 2019. Apple’s App Store follows suit at a total of 24.4 percent share of sales, according to the Korea Mobile Internet Business Association.
One Store, operated by Naver Corp. and three major mobile carriers in South Korea, currently keeps a total share of the market at 11.2 percent.