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The Google app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/DADO RUVIC
The Google app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/DADO RUVIC

Seoul — Google said on Wednesday its presence in South Korea amounted to almost 12-trillion won ($10.16bn) in economic benefits for its users, as the US tech giant faces increased scrutiny from regulators and politicians.

Google’s announcement came a day after South Korea’s antitrust agency fined it 207 billion won for blocking customised versions of its Android operating system — the company's second setback in the country in less than a month.

The Korea Fair Trade Commission said this could be the ninth-biggest fine it has ever imposed.

Google said during an online event that it annually provides 5.1-trillion won in benefits for South Koreans through its Play Store, 4.2-trillion won through its search engine service, and 2.5-trillion won through its productivity apps, including Google Docs, citing a report from consulting firm AlphaBeta.

Google added that it also provides 10.5-trillion won a year in economic benefits for South Korean companies. It didn’t provide how such assessments were made.

YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said the online video sharing and social media platform contributed more than 1.5-trillion won to South Korea’s GDP in 2020 and created more than 86,000 full-time jobs.

“We will continue to do our best to support our partners to grow and advance into the world and to positively contribute to the South Korean economy,” Google Korea’s country director Kim Kyoung-hoon said during the event.

Late last month South Korea’s parliament passed an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Act — dubbed the “anti-Google law” — to ban major app store operators from forcing software developers to use their payment systems and effectively stopping developers from charging commission on in-app purchases.



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