[THE INVESTOR] Google has expanded its payment options to include PayCo, a mobile payment system operated by NHN Entertainment, for the Google Play Store on Android devices in South Korea, according to the local game and service provider on Oct. 10.
“Google customers can purchase paid apps, in-app purchase content, movies, books and news with PayCo point as a new payment method,” a NHN Entertainment spokesperson said.
Launched in August 2015, PayCo has grown to become the nation’s third-largest mobile payment provider by transaction volume, providing payment services for online and mobile shopping, entertainment and games.
The partnership with the US tech giant is predicted to reinvigorate the Korean firm’s position in the increasingly competitive mobile payment market.
Google Play is the most sought-after app service here, with Korea generating the third-largest sales from Google Play Store last year globally, according to research firm App Annie. Last year, sales generated from Google Play Store in Korea stood at around 4.5 trillion won (US$3.9 billion), accounting for 58.2 percent of the total sales of 7.6 trillion won generated from the entire local app market, according to the Korea Mobile Internet Business Association.
“The Korea Market is one of the countries that shows a high payment rate. The addition of PayCo point in Google Play will contribute to the growth of the number of subscribers and even to the growth of the content industry by vitalizing payment.” said Jeong Yeon-hun, chief of NHN PayCo.
Currently, the local mobile payment market is dominated by Samsung Pay with 5.8 trillion won in transaction volume from January to August, followed by Naver Pay and PayCo with 2.1 trillion won and 1.3 trillion won respectively, according to the Financial Supervisory Service. Kakao Pay came fourth with 685 billion won.
By subscribers, Naver Pay has the largest number of users at 24 million, followed by Kakao Pay with 18 million users, Samsung Pay with 9.4 million users and PayCo with 6.9 million users.
The Korean mobile payment service market, which first started in September 2014 with Kakao Pay in Korea, has grown to more than 10 trillion won here per year, solidifying its position as a new payment alternative.
“The mobile payment system will soon become a mainstream payment method like cash and credit cards,” said Chung Koo-min, a professor at Kookmin University.
LG Electronics joined the race with LG Pay in August and global firms Google and Apple are also predicted to unveil Android Pay and Apple Pay, respectively, next year.
By Shin Ji-hye/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)