Apple Tells WeChat Tips are In-App Purchases
Li Yuan reporting for the Wall Street Journal:
"Apple Inc. has seen its challenges multiply in the all-important China market over the past year or so, from declining market share to increased government scrutiny. Now, its effort to wring more revenue from Chinese iPhone users may be setting the company up for more trouble.
"Apple’s latest predicament centers on its App Store. Last month, Apple told several Chinese social-networking apps, including the wildly popular messaging platform WeChat, to disable their “tip” functions to comply with App Store rules, according to executives at WeChat and other companies. That function allows users to send authors and other content creators tips, from a few yuan to hundreds, via transfers from mobile-wallet accounts.
"Those transfers are offered by the social-networking apps free of charge, as a way to inspire user engagement. Now, those tips will be considered in-app purchases, just like buying games, music and videos, entitling Apple to a 30% cut."
This may be a direct response to the what Ben Thompson calls Apple's China Problem.
"The fundamental issue is this: unlike the rest of the world, in China the most important layer of the smartphone stack is not the phone’s operating system. Rather, it is WeChat."
Header image from Unsplash.