Naver gets examiners' report from KFTC on dominance abuse through 'self-preferencing'

20 November 2019 4:47pm
Naver search engine

18 Nov 2019. By Hyung-jo Choi.

South Korean Internet company Naver has been issued an examiners’ report on the antitrust investigation by the Korea Fair Trade Commission for alleged "self-preferencing" of its services in search results.

The South Korean competition regulator sent the report to Naver, South Korea’s largest platform operator, on Monday, it is understood.

It is understood the regulator determined that Naver abused its dominance as the top platform and search engine operator in the country to favor its own real-estate search, video and shopping services over those of competitors — a practice referred to as "self-preferencing."

Naver has three weeks to review and respond to the report, with the option to request an extension of the review period. Following the rebuttal by Naver, the case will be sent to the standing committee of the KFTC which will make the final decision on the case.

Naver came onto the radar of the regulator for possible dominance abuses and saw its offices raided last year.

During the investigation, suspicions arose that Naver may have forced businesses that use its platform to favor its video service over others.

The KFTC joins the ranks of other competition regulators who are finding such conduct by platforms as problematic and possibly anticompetitive.

In Europe, the European Commission in 2017 found that Google abused its search-engine dominance in online shopping and fined the company 2.4 billion euros and ordered it to apply the same "processes and methods" to place and display rival comparison-shopping services in its search results as it did for its own services.

Platform "self-preferencing" may violate Japan's competition law, the chairman of the Japan Fair Trade Commission said in a recent interview with MLex.