Google has announced changes to its Google Play Store policy in South Korea that might change the way Koreans buy apps. The new policy levies 30 % commission fees on developers for transactions on Google Play Store. This definitely may hurt domestic Korean game developers and gaming startups as they strive for other local alternatives.
As per a Korean Mobile Internet Business Association report, 27 percent of app developers are saying they will start using options to avoid the commissions. For the homegrown app selling market ONE Store, this could be good news. ONE Store is the second-largest app store in Korea and has reported a profit this year for the first time. It has also attracted investments from domestic and international companies.
ONE Store gets investment from Microsoft & Deutsche Telekom
ONE Store recently announced that it got $15 million in funding from Microsoft Corp. and DTCP (Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners, the venture capital arm of Deutsche Telekom. ONE Store is expected to go public later this year.
The Korean startup platform One Store, owned by SK Telecom, has grown through its win-win strategy with developers, such as implementing a policy to reduce app market fees. The latest investment is seen as an extension of the strategic partnership that SK Telecom, Microsoft, and Deutsche Telekom have worked closely within various fields such as 5G, cloud, and AI.
SK Telecom and ONE Store, together with Microsoft and Deutsche Telekom, plan to promote various cooperation in the mid to long terms, such as nurturing a game ecosystem, discovering new opportunities for content with domestic game creators, cloud cooperation, and expanding global platforms.
Furthermore, the expansion of the global platform will serve as a bridge where Korean games can be distributed directly to the European market when they are released on ONE Store. In addition to games, the global spread of various K-Contents such as webtoons and e-books is also expected to gain further strength.
ONE Store had recently acquired ‘Lock Media,’ a publisher specializing in genre novels, strengthening its content business such as web novels and webtoons, and strengthening its content business capabilities by establishing a joint venture (JV) with Yes24 for content studios.
ONE Store accelerates its IPO
Launched in 2018, ONE Store has reported ten times to increase in transactions on the app store market recently. According to IGA Works, a big data platform company, the growth rate of ONE Store in the first quarter of this year was 35.2% compared to the previous year. This is about 4.5 times the growth rate of other global app markets.
In Korea, Google Play and Apple’s App Store have the biggest share in the app market at 71.2%, and homegrown app platforms have an 18.3% share, according to data from IGAWorks. ONE Store has, however, garnered quite attention this year with its lower commission fee. ONE Store currently offers a 20% commission rate, way lower than the Google Play Store. Also, if app developers use the in-built payment system, it is lowered to just 5 %.
As leading global big tech companies, Microsoft and DTCP made equity investments, ONE Store’s future goal to go public seems nearer. In March 2021, ONE Store had got funding of about $23 million from domestic telecom companies KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp.
In a media statement, Jaehwan Lee, CEO of ONE Store, said, “ONE Store has taken a step forward as Korea’s representative app market, where domestic and foreign telecommunication companies and global IT companies are shareholders. We plan to accelerate our advancement into the market.”