Apple makes deal to allow tipping to resume for Chinese users of WeChat app

Apple has reached a deal with Tencent that will soon allow the tipping feature to be turned back on in WeChat, The Wall Street Journal reports. Direct payments to content creators were disabled in WeChat and other apps last year when Apple informed the app makers that it considered the payments equivalent to in-app purchases — which means Apple would be entitled to 30 percent of the revenue being sent. The companies objected, arguing that Apple was looking to collect money for nothing since not even the app makers themselves were collecting anything from the direct payments sent from users to content creators.
But Tencent executive Alan Zhang said as part of an agreement with Apple, his company will revamp the tipping system to send money directly to individuals instead of using a third-party intermediary. “In the past, companies like Apple might have had a difficult time understanding China-specific features,” Zhang added. “We now all share a mutual understanding and we’ll soon bring back the “tip” function.” Apple has previously updated its App Store guidelines to allow for “tipping” with in-app purchases or letting apps provide for giving “a monetary gift to another individual without using in-app purchase” provided that gift isn’t directly tied to receiving digital content or services and the app maker doesn’t take a percentage of the money. The specific terms of Tencent’s new deal for WeChat tipping are still unclear because the app hasn’t yet been updated.

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