Because of the hefty commissions of 15-30 percent that are now required as a result of Google’s policy changes that force apps to use its first-party billings and payments system, app developers and content providers in South Korea are increasing the prices of their paid subscriptions and services that are offered on Google’s Play marketplace.
Even though South Korean law allows app developers to use a third-party payment option, Google’s commission is only reduced by four percent due to this, and app developers believe that this is not enough. The developers are also upset that they cannot add in-app links that direct users to their websites. This would enable users to make purchases without going through Google’s billing system, which is another source of frustration for the developers.
Many South Korean platforms that are not games, such as over-the-top (OTT), music streaming, web cartoons, and digital book apps, have primarily adopted web payments utilizing an in-app link to a website located outside of the app. They preferred this system because the weblink payment option does not require commission fees from app developers.
According to sources familiar with the situation, Google’s in-app payment was not mandatory for non-game apps until May of this year. However, beginning June 1st, developers on those platforms will be required to use either Google’s in-app payment system or the third-party payment option.
The blog of the American multinational technology company states that “all developers selling digital goods and services in their apps are required to use Google Play’s billing system.” Additionally, the company clarified that apps that use external payment links would be removed from the Google Play Store beginning in June 2022 to comply with Google’s payment policy.
The previous decision made by Google to support third-party payments in South Korea has been followed by this decision. After South Korea passed a bill in September that prohibits app market operators like Google and Apple from forcing apps to use the tech giants’ in-app payment systems, Google announced in November of last year that it would support alternative billing systems in South Korea in response to the country’s in-app payment law.
This law was the first of its kind in the world. Google will support alternative billing systems in South Korea by allowing Android app developers to use alternative payment options alongside Google’s own. South Korea’s in-app payment law
According to a statement that the Korea Communications Commission issued at the beginning of April, if app developers were prohibited from using the weblink payment option, this would violate South Korea’s app payment law, which mandates that operators of app stores allow third-party payments. The KCC has indicated to TechCrunch that it will continue to monitor Google to determine whether or not the American technology giant forces apps to use Google’s payment system on the Google Play marketplace for Android app users in Korea and whether or not it removes apps for making use of weblink payment.
Naver Webtoon and Kakao Entertainment, two South Korean platforms for webtoons, have recently announced that they intend to raise the rate they charge users for downloading their applications and services. However, neither of the two companies that publish webcomics will increase the price of their fees for business conducted on the web because Google’s billing policy only applies to payments made within the app itself.
In South Korea, an increasing number of content providers, such as over-the-top platforms, digital book retailers, and music streaming applications, are planning to raise the prices of their services.
Over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as SK Telecom’s Wavve, CJ ENM’s TVing, and KT’s Seen have all increased the cost of their subscriptions by approximately 16.7 percent. Music streaming services such as Naver’s Vibe and SK Telecom’s Flo have also increased the cost of their services by roughly 16 percent.
Google has also declined to comment on this.