SEOUL, Aug. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — One store, a South Korean app market operator, said Monday it has joined hands with Microsoft Corp. to develop a global app market by next year in its latest move to boost its presence against bigger rivals operated by global tech giants.
The app market is currently available on the Android mobile operating system as an alternative to Google’s dominant Play store in South Korea.
The company said it plans to incorporate Microsoft’s cloud technology to create a global platform by next year.
In an online press conference, One store’s head of strategic partnership Jin Heon-kyu said the company is considering the launch in the Asian market.
The move comes after Microsoft invested 11.3 billion won (US$9.5 million) in One store in June.
The homegrown app market is backed by major wireless carrier SK Telecom, which holds a 47 percent stake in the company, as well as other carriers KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. that also have minor stakes.
One store also announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Blizzard Entertainment Inc.
Earlier this month, the U.S. video game giant released its popular mobile card game “Hearthstone” on One store, with “Diablo Immortal,” a mobile version of its popular “Diablo” franchise, also set to launch on the app store.
The homegrown app market added it will soon unveil a cross-platform system, in which mobile games can be played on PCs and other devices, by incorporating cloud services from China’s Tencent.
One store CEO Lee Jae-hwan said in the conference that the company seeks to boost its annual sales over threefold by 2025. The company expects over 200 billion won in sales this year.
“Considering our expansion overseas and synergy from cross platform services, I think that our target sales of 700 billion won is conservative,” he said.
One store has recently drawn attention as it levies a smaller commission from app developers when users buy digital goods — 20 percent — compared with up to 30 percent taken from the Play store and Apple’s App Store.
The homegrown app market also allows developers to use their own payment systems, which is restricted on rival platforms.
Google and Apple have been under pressure from local lawmakers as they are reviewing a bill that would ban app market operators from unfairly forcing in-app payment systems that levy the commissions.
Lee said the bill, if passed, would likely benefit One store.
“One store has allowed developers to use the payment systems they want since three years ago,” he said. “(The law) would serve as a check against the monopolies of the two companies and would present new opportunities for One store.”
One store’s share of the local app market reached 18.3 percent as of August last year, compared with Google’s Play at 71.2 percent and Apple Inc.’s App Store at 10.5 percent, according to data from industry tracker IGAWorks.