What you need to know
- Google Play is adding support for alternative in-app billing systems in South Korea.
- The change is in response to a law regarding app stores passed by the South Korean government recently.
- Users can continue to use Google Play's billing system if they desire.
The South Korean government recently passed an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act, prohibiting Google and Apple from forcing their own payment solutions on developers. Shortly after the law was passed, South Korean antitrust regulators fined Google KRW 207 billion (about $177 million) for abusing its dominance in the mobile OS market.
To comply with the new law, Google has now decided to allow developers to add an alternative in-app billing system alongside the Play Store's billing system for users in the country.
Google says the changes will not only allow it to comply with the law, but also continue investing in Android and Google Play, and provide a seamless user experience that people expect from the Play Store.
Developers in the country will be able to add an alternative in-app billing system for both mobile and tablet users. At checkout, users can decide if they want to continue using Google Play's billing system or the alternative one.
However, the company has warned that alternative billing systems may not provide the same protections or features that Google Play's billing system offers on the best Android phones and tablets.
Google's own billing system also offers a wide range of payment options — including Google Play gift cards and Play Points. According to Google, over 1.5 million South Korean users have used Play gift cards this year, and more than 12 million have enrolled in Play Points. Google says it is critical to continue offering Play billing as an option in South Korea as consumers in the country "value these features."
Google will be sharing implementation details for developers in the coming weeks and months, which means users in South Korea won't actually be able to use alternative in-app billing systems until sometime early next year.
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