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(LEAD) Apple's App Store facilitated nearly US$15 bln in sales in S. Korea last year

09:51 June 03, 2021

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SEOUL, June 3 (Yonhap) -- Apple Inc. facilitated nearly US$15 billion in billings and sales in South Korea last year, according to a report released by the company Thursday, unveiling the figure for the country for the first time.

The report from the U.S.-based Analysis Group found that Apple's App Store facilitated $14.9 billion in billings and sales in South Korea in 2020, accounting for 2.3 percent of the total global market at $643 billion.

The figure covers sales of digital goods and services facilitated by the App Store, as well as those from physical goods and services and in-app advertising.

People line up outside of Apple Inc.'s store in western Seoul on Feb. 26, 2021. (Yonhap)

Most of the App Store's sales in South Korea last year came from physical goods and services, which stood at $13.1 billion, or 87.9 percent of the total, compared with $1.5 billion from digital goods and services, or just 1 percent of the total.

The tech giant levies a commission rate of 30 percent for the sale of digital goods and services.

Global sales of physical goods and services from the App Store last year reached $511 billion, or nearly 80 percent of the total, compared with those of digital goods and services at $86 billion, or 13.4 percent of the total.

The report said total global billings and sales in the App Store ecosystem grew 24 percent on-year in 2020 as the pandemic fueled demand for online shopping, such as for grocery and food delivery.

Apple's disclosure of its App Store sales in South Korea comes amid growing scrutiny over commission fees in mobile app markets.

The U.S. tech giant has faced discontent from developers globally over its 30 percent commission, and the company cut the rate by half for developers that earn up to $1 million annually at the start of this year.

Rival app market operator Google has also drawn ire in South Korea as it is set to enforce its billing system on all developers on its Play store in October, which would take a 30 percent commission fee on digital goods and services.

Some app developers had circumvented Google's fee by using other payment systems.

Amid developer complaints and pressure from local lawmakers, Google has decided to lower its commission fee to 15 percent for the first $1 million of revenue earned by developers starting in July.

Google is also conducting a 15 percent discount for non-game content purchases on its Play store in South Korea this month.

yunhwanchae@yna.co.kr
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