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Google to cease Android developer payments in Argentina

With tough foreign currency restrictions in Argentina, Google has decided to stop app developer payments by June, making it harder for Argentine developers to monetize apps.
May 26, 2013
"Don't cry for me, Argentina!" President Cristina Kirchner's tough foreign currency policies have resulted in difficulties for Android developers and users in the country (Photo credit: AP).
“Don’t cry for me, Argentina!” President Cristina Kirchner’s tough foreign currency policies have resulted in difficulties for Android developers and users in the country (Photo credit: AP).

Update: Corrected information regarding Google Play purchases from within the country.

Even in a globalized world, not everything is perfect, and geography can still be a limiting factor when doing business. Case in point: Google is pulling out developer payments in Argentina starting June 27th this year, and final payments will be made out on July 22nd. According to Google, this change applies to both premium or paid apps, as well as in-app payments for freemium applications.

Google did not make a specific explanation as to the shift in policy, only citing “ongoing challenges making payments to Argentine developers.” It is suspected that the Argentine government’s crackdown on currency exchanges might be the reason behind the ban.

This does not mean, however, that developers based in Argentina can no longer distribute apps through Google Play. They can still do so, but will be limited to distributing free apps. Android users in the country will still be able to purchase paid apps and make in-app payments, though (but at a steep price).

As a brief backgrounder on the foreign currency restrictions, Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has introduced foreign currency controls since her re-election in 2011 to limit capital outflows and to beef up its central bank’s currency reserves. Moves that have affected the use of app purchases and payments include a steep 15 percent tax on Internet purchases (since increased to 20 percent). Even PayPal transactions are suspended from within the country. Of course, there is mixed reaction to these policies, which has made it difficult for businesses to trade, and for citizens to travel and purchase goods from abroad.

But while Android developers in the country could no longer distribute paid apps, Google has suggested that they may still offer paid apps and earn from Google Play if they can register their business and accounts elsewhere. The company has offered to “continue exploring ways to resume funding Argentine developers,” although there is no saying what exactly they can do to help out the Android development community in the country.