Apple has removed its controversial App Store policy of taking a 30% cut on tipping from users to content creators in China, The Paper is reporting (in Chinese)
App Store Review Guidelines on Apple’s official website updated its tipping policy on section 3.2.1 article 7:
(vii) Apps may enable individual users to give a monetary gift to another individual without using in-app purchase, provided that (a) the gift is a completely optional choice by the giver, and (b) 100% of the funds go to the receiver of the gift. However, a gift that is connected to or associated at any point in time with receiving digital content or services must use in-app purchase.
The newly modified policy shows that Apple will not allow Weibo, WeChat and other platforms, to monetize from original content creator getting tips from users. Apple clearly says reward behavior only involves “monetary gifts,” so the beneficiaries should be content creators on WeChat public account, Zhihu, or Weibo. Live streaming platforms will still charged 30% commission from Apple, because the live streamers are awarded with virtual currency used in such platform, rather than monetary gifts.
Apple previously required its iOS applications to either change “Reward (打赏) to “In-app purchase (应用内购买)” or provide 30% cut to Apple on all transactions inside iOS apps.
“. . . Apple will play as a partner of the content creator who is rewarded, and doesn’t want to make other specific content or service to monetize on the reward. If a WeChat public account is directly attached to the WeChat reward plug-in, then Apple will take 30% of the reward given to the content creator. If the developer really want to avoid this, then they should choose another interface so that Apple will not charge 30% commission,” an insider at Apple The Paper.
Apple’s new rules are now in effect, but application developers also need some time to develop a new reward interface, so original content creators will have to wait for some time to 100% receive the reward without getting commission cut.
According to WeChat’s Economic and Social Impacts in 2016 report, 10.7% of the WeChat users have used tipping feature, and 22% of the users were tipping more than RMB 10 ($1.45) every month.