South Korea’s internet giant Naver has been under probe by the antitrust agency since Tuesday on charges of abusing its dominant market share.
A Naver official confirmed investigators from the Fair Trade Commission are searching its head office.
Shares of Naver fell 1.24 percent on Wednesday and closed the day at 878,000 won ($820.18).
The antitrust agency’s probe comes after a consumer rights group last year accused the company of promoting its own payment service NPay in online shopping malls.
FTC chief Kim Sang-jo who has been an outspoken critic of excesses by chaebols and big players using their market predominance during a parliamentary hearing in October last year said there were many areas of concerns due to Naver’s market dominance.
As of July last year, about 75 percent of internet searches are estimated to have been done through Naver.
Lee Hae-jin, founder and global investment officer of Naver, at the parliamentary session, challenged Kim’s accusation claiming that there was no problem with its current business practice as other payment options are available at shopping sites.
The Korea Communications Commission that overseas internet and broadcasting rules recently advised Naver to change its shopping mall policy primarily displaying NPay. The company has not complied with the order.
The company could face punitive action depending on the FTC findings.
By Seok Min-soo and Cho Jeehyun
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