Alphabet Inc’s Google said on Wednesday its presence in South Korea equates to nearly 12 trillion won ($10.16 billion) 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 Google 207 billion won ($177m) for blocking customised versions of its Android operating system, in 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 worth of 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 annually provides 10.5 trillion won in economic benefits for South Korean companies.
Google did not explain how such assessments were made.
YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki said it contributed more than 1.5 trillion won to South Korea‘s gross domestic product (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.
Earlier, in late August, parliament passed an amendment to South Korea‘s Telecommunications Business Act – popularly dubbed the “anti-Google law” to ban major app store operators such as Google from forcing software developers to use their payment systems and effectively stopping developers from charging commission on in-app purchases.
• Reuters and Jim Pollard