Owner store

One Store challenges Google, Apple’s app store monopoly with IPO

One Store CEO Lee Jae-hwan makes a presentation at a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (A store)

South Korea’s app market, One Store, aims to challenge Google and Apple, two US tech giants that enjoy a near-monopoly on the 300 trillion won ($235 billion) global app store market. dollars), with its upcoming market debut here.

One Store, the only nationwide operator of an app store of the same name, is a merged entity of the country’s four app stores that were previously operated separately by SK Telecom, KT, LG Uplus and Naver. It is now a subsidiary of SK Square, the investment unit of SK Group.

In its drive for global expansion, it plans to expand into Southeast Asian countries and Taiwan first by the end of this year, followed by Europe and North America in the long term. .

“Korea is the only app store market in the world to break out of an app store monopoly,” One Store general manager Lee Jae-hwan said at a press conference on Monday. in Seoul.

“For the global market, One Store is poised to be one of the only options, given the time and cost it takes for a country to build a new app store from scratch.”

Lee cited an IGAWorks Mobile Index estimate that showed One Store beat Apple with 13.8% market share in 2021 and trailed just behind Google. The company also estimated total transactions in its market at 1.13 trillion won through 2021, surpassing the 1 trillion won per year mark for the first time.

Additionally, One Store will benefit from the world’s efforts to break the App Store’s monopoly and its own localization efforts.

There are pending bills aimed at reducing the monopolistic behavior of tech giants, such as the Open App Markets Act in the United States and the Digital Market Act in the European Union. These bills are expected to open up a new opportunity for the Korean market, which is dedicated to mobile game apps, multimedia content like webtoons, and gaming gear, Lee said.

In addition, One Store charges customers lower commission fees for users compared to Google and Apple at home. The same policy will be applied to the overseas market, according to Lee. Additionally, One Store will support a wider range of payment options, including vouchers, bank transfers and prepaid cards.

“We are seeing strong pressure around the world to open the doors to new app store operators, and we expect the barrier to entry to disappear by the end of this year or the beginning of next year,” Lee said.

Part of the cost of its overseas expansion will come from its IPO later this month, which could fetch up to 277.7 billion won. After the IPO, its market capitalization is expected to be around 1.1 trillion won.

This comes despite unfavorable macroeconomic conditions and the resulting investor flight to safety that has weighed on the stock market.

Its sister company SK Shieldus, a cybersecurity services company, withdrew from its stock offering to the public on Friday. The company spoke of “nervous” market sentiment as its book build caught the attention of institutional investors rattled by macro concerns such as inflation and rising interest rates in the United States.

Both SK Shieldus and One Store are controlled by SK Square, a subsidiary of Korea’s largest mobile operator, SK Telecom. SK Square’s stock price hit an all-time low as it fell more than 5% on Monday.

A One Store official said the company would continue with the IPO at all costs.

“We think it’s the right time to do the IPO. If we don’t, we lose the opportunity to grow our global presence,” said Kim Sang-don, CFO of One Store.

([email protected])