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Apple demands cut of Chinese app 'tips'
Published on: 2017-06-12
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050pple could face a backlash from Chinese app makers after it issued a new policy defining tips as in-app purchases. The move would have meant Apple could take a 30 per cent cut of any donations made by users of popular Chinese social media apps such as Wechat.

Tipping is a much more common form of showing satisfaction with an online product in China than in many Western countries. Many content providers give out their products for free, and rely on tips to create revenue.

Last month, Apple demanded that Chinese app makers disable the tipping function. If app makers don't comply, they'll be removed from the App Store.

In its latest guidelines Apple states "Apps may not include buttons, external links, or other calls to action that direct customers to purchasing mechanisms other than In-App Purchase."

051Tips can still be made through UnionPay or AliPay, which are both supported by Apple, but not via WeChat Pay which is heavily used in China for services such as food delivery services or news feeds.

In response to the new policy, Chinese companies behind popular apps such as Jinri Toutiao, Zhihu and Yingke have all changed the way customers tip through the latest versions of their Apps.

Tencent's WeChat instant messaging platform shut down the tipping function of its apps in the Apple Store in April, after failing to reach an agreement with Apple on the issue.

Chinese app-developers argue that users are simply showing their appreciation by tipping the authors of articles or other content or service providers, but Apple believes tipping is just like buying a song or a piece of video.

Analysts say that by making tipping an "in-app purchase", Apple is aiming to make more money out of Chinese users.

It's also reported that Apple is concerned about WeChat Pay's increasing popularity in China, as its own Apple Pay facility is struggling to attract Chinese customers.

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