South Korea set for law to curb Google, Apple’s in-app billing system

Seoul: A parliamentary committee on Wednesday passed a bill to ban Google and Apple from forcing app developers to use the platforms’ payment systems, clearing the last remaining hurdle before a final vote.

The legislation and judiciary committee of the National Assembly approved the revision of the Telecommunications Business Act, which seeks to bar app market operators from requiring developers to use certain payment systems by unfairly using their positions.

If the bill is approved in a plenary session later in the day, South Korea will be the first country to introduce such curbs on global tech giants’ in-app billing policies, which have been increasingly under scrutiny around the world, reports Yonhap news agency.

The so-called Anti-Google Law was submitted to parliament in August 2020, one month after US tech giant Google said it would have all apps use its own billing system and charge 30 percent commission on all in-app purchases.

Earlier this year, Google decided to lower its commission fees to 15 percent for the first $1 million of revenue earned by developers.

In response to growing pressure, its rival Apple cut the 30 percent rate by half for app developers that earn up to $1 million annually at the start of this year.

Sales from Google Play Store in South Korea were estimated at 5 trillion won ($4.3 billion) last year, accounting for two-thirds of the country’s total, compared with those from Apple’s App Store at 1.6 trillion won, according to the Korea Mobile Internet Business Association.

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