The words “app store” appeared 340 times in the U.S. House of representatives report accusing Big Tech – Alphabet/Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook – of abusing its market power. They should see China’s app stores. The report, which came out on Tuesday, cited complaints of developers like Epic Games, which have been agitating for Apple and Google to cut back on the 30% fee they take on app-related payments.
But in China, a 30% cut of app sales sounds pretty good.
While app makers the world over have been deriding Apple and Google’s share as an unfair and unwarranted tax, Chinese Android stores frequently take cuts of about 50%. Now, a handful of Chinese developers have started the fight to push their revenue split down to the global standard.
In recent weeks, two Chinese gaming startups, Lilith Games and miHoYo, said they won’t sell their would-be autumn hits via app stores pre-installed on smartphones made by Huawei and Xiaomi. Instead, they’ve opted for stores charging smaller fees or none at all—including Apple’s App Store, which levies the same 30% charge in China as it does everywhere else.
Why do Chinese app stores charge so much? For starters, local vendors are dominant in the country’s smartphone market, with the iPhone making up just 8% of sales in the June quarter. Google Play doesn’t exist, so the pre-installed mobile stores of Chinese smartphone makers become the first choice for more than half a billion Android users. That’s made it easier for companies like Huawei Technologies Co., Xiaomi Corp. and Oppo to take a larger share of revenue.
MacDailyNews Take: As always, the lack of competition creates vacuum into which price gougers happily rush to fill.
Obviously, Apple’s App Store fees are reasonable. How much did it cost developers to have their applications burned onto CDs, boxed, shipped, and displayed on store shelves prior to Apple remaking the world for the better for umpteenth time?
Greedy scam artists like Epic Games want all of the benefits afforded to them by Apple’s App Store for free.