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S.Korea approves rules on app store law targeting Apple, Google

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SEOUL, March 8 (Reuters) - South Korea approved detailed rules for a law banning dominant app store operators such as Apple Inc and Alphabet's Google from forcing software developers to use their payments systems, the country's telecommunications regulator said on Tuesday.

South Korea passed the law, an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act, last year.

It was the first such curb by a major economy on Apple and Google, which face global criticism for requiring the use of proprietary payment systems that charge commissions of up to 30%.

The rules, called the enforcement ordinance, will be put into effect on March 15. They specify that the law bars "the act of forcing a specific payment method to a provider of mobile content" by unfairly utilising the app market operator's status, the regulator Korea Communications Commission (KCC) said in a statement.

"In order to prevent indirect regulatory avoidance, prohibited acts' types and standards have been established as tightly-knit as possible within the scope delegated by the law," said KCC Chairman Han Sang-hyuk.

Barred acts include app market operators unfairly delaying the review of mobile content, or refusing, delaying, restricting, deleting, or blocking the registration, renewal, or inspection of mobile content that uses third-party payment methods.

Potential fines for infractions will go as high as 2% of an average annual revenue from related business practices, the rules said. (Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)