Facebook Vice President Kevin Martin had a meeting with Korea Communications Commission (KCC) Chairman Lee Hyo-sung in Gwacheon, South Korea on January 10.
They discussed reverse discrimination in the local communications market, user protection, the direction of growth of the local Internet ecosystem, etc. The vice president said that Facebook will pay taxes in South Korea from 2019 onwards with regard to ad sales generated in the country, pay local Internet service providers at least some network fees, and open an innovation lab in Pangyo in the first quarter of this year to support 500 or so startups.
According to the KCC, the vice president stressed that his company is regarding South Korea as a very important market and the innovation lab, which is for Facebook to fulfill its social responsibility in the market, will provide education and training based on curricula covering various platforms such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). This has to do with the fact that China is currently blocking Internet services provided by the United States and Facebook’s business in Asia as a whole can be negatively affected once the company loses its dominance in the South Korean market.
In the meantime, Google Korea, which is generating way more data traffic than Facebook, is showing no response to the South Korean government and National Assembly with regard to the reverse discrimination issue. “We are considering the implementation of compulsory agent designation targeting companies with no branch in South Korea in order to address the issue,” the KCC explained, adding, “Also under consideration are temporary prohibition of app registration applied to global players violating the local law and class action suits against global players for the purpose of local consumer protection.”