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Google seeks to clean up corporate image after sanctions

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Kim Kyoung-hoon, country director of Google Korea, speaks during the Google for Korea online press event, Wednesday. Captured from conference
Kim Kyoung-hoon, country director of Google Korea, speaks during the Google for Korea online press event, Wednesday. Captured from conference

US tech giant underlines business benefit, job creation in Korea

By Baek Byung-yeul

Google will ramp up efforts to boost its digital cooperation in Korea by continuing to create more jobs and business opportunities, the U.S.-based tech giant said Wednesday, in what is believed to be a move to restore its corporate image here. The tech company has been hit by a series of sanctions lately over abuse of its market dominance.

"Google will continue to do its best to help more Korean startups, partners and creators grow and advance into the global market, and to contribute positively to the Korean economy and local community," Kim Kyoung-hoon, country director of Google Korea, said during a special online conference to celebrate Google's 18th anniversary of starting its business in Korea.

"Through the startup campus, new Korean businesses are actively interacting with communities around the world and paving the way for innovation. The Google Startup Campus Team and the Google Developer Ecosystem Team plan to launch a startup support program called the Google for Startup Accelerator program soon," Kim said.

During the event, the consulting firm AlphaBeta Advisors said Google has had a positive impact on Korean society as a whole by providing platforms such as AI technology and apps, mobile and cloud computing services, and support measures to foster startups.

Park Sang-gon, a director of the Korea Productivity Center, also emphasized that YouTube, Google's video streaming service, has greatly helped local content creators reach overseas audiences.

"YouTube presents a new paradigm of single-person media, bringing economic, cultural and social benefits," Park said. "Seven out of 10 content creators have become accessible through YouTube and are exporting content to overseas viewers who had no other approach in the past."

The Korean branch of Google stressed that it has contributed to the development of Korea's economy, creating more than 54,000 jobs and bringing business benefits worth 10.5 trillion won ($8.9 billion) annually since it began operating here.

The press event came after recent punitive measures taken by the National Assembly and the Fair Trade Commission over Google's abuse of its market dominance, which seems to have stirred up negative consumer sentiment.

On Sept. 14, the FTC fined Google 207.4 billion won for abusing its market dominance to prevent the entry of other developers of smart device operating systems (OS).

The FTC ordered Google to allow electronics device makers to use OS made by other companies, saying it had effectively prevented device makers from developing products loaded with modified operating systems. The antitrust regulator added Google had also forced manufacturers to sign a contract under which the devices would have to incorporate Google's own app market.

With the measures, initiated in 2011, Google has effectively increased its share in the global OS business. Excluding Apple's system, Google's market share grew to 97.7 percent in 2019 from 38 percent in 2010.

The antitrust regulator's fine and corrective measure on Google followed the passage of a bill last month in the National Assembly banning the internet giant from imposing its own billing system on in-app purchases.

These two measures have had a huge impact on countries and the international community preparing their own cases against internet platform companies' abuse of their monopoly status. Based on the new bill and corrective measures here, the U.S., Europe, Japan and other countries are looking to increase the level of antitrust regulations to be applied to platform operators.


Baek Byung-yeul baekby@koreatimes.co.kr


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