Korea’s Fair Trade Commission has tentatively approved self-corrective measures drawn up by the country’s two largest Internet portal operators, according to the antitrust agency Wednesday.
Naver and Daum, which had been accused of abusing their power and hindering fair market competition, will commit about 104 billion won ($98 million) to supporting small businesses and promoting consumer protection.
Naver proposed that it would spend and invest 100 billion won, while Daum planned to spend 4 billion won over the next three years to either set up an entity or a fund to correct their abuses of market position.
Their proposals included plans to execute their self-corrective measures by the first half of 2014, at the earliest.
The antitrust agency said that it planned to review their proposals over the next 40 years for final approval.
The FTC added that it will impose a penalty worth 2 million won per day against the two companies should they fail to follow through on their commitments.
The move comes as the two search giants requested the so-called commitment decision process allowing them to voluntarily draw up their own corrective measures while the antitrust agency prepared for an increased probe.
The FTC accepted their requests in November, demanding they come up with the preliminary plan within 30 days.
It noted then that it applied the process for the first time on the two portal operators, adding that they would be able to draw up measures that ensured not only fair competition but also innovation in the online market.
“Naver and Daum came up with measures that can improve the market in an active manner,” the FTC said in a statement.
“The FTC will regularly monitor the two companies through a designated entity or by itself to check whether they are executing their measures as promised.”
Naver proposed that it will allocate 30 billion won of its 100 billion won commitment to carry out support projects related to consumer education, promotion and consulting, the FTC said.
The regulator added that Daum would contribute about 4 billion won to consumer protection and supporting smaller companies, including Internet start-ups and content providers.
By Park Hyong-ki and news reports