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Google Play cut payments to developers in Argentina (celularis.com)
83 points by pmtarantino on May 24, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 66 comments

"Currently, developers in the below countries may register as Google Checkout merchants and sell paid applications. We're working hard to add more countries, but we're unable to provide any guidance on timelines.

    Czech Republic
    Hong Kong
    New Zealand
    South Korea
    United Kingdom
    United States"
Source: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answ...

That leaves out Chile and Uruguay as well, so this change appears to be unrelated to the current situation in Argentina.

Exactly, they left those countries out too. We'll have to wait until Google tells us why, if they ever do it.

You will wait in vain. Google has no incentive to explain. It would only damage any chance of other and/or future business in Argentina.

But not every company is so timid. Brazil's Vale recently pulled out if a giant potash project and according to Reuters: Vale said the inflation and exchange rate could make the project unviable.[1]


>The move appears to be related to new, restrictive regulations the Argentine government has imposed on currency exchanges, which The Telegraph[1] detailed this past September.

Note that [1] is titled "Damming dollar flood comes at a huge cost to Argentine economy". Seems like it's a reasonable possibility, though I can't say I understand Argentine economics.

[1] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/expat/expatlife/9565126/Damming-d...

This is really bad news for latin american developers, as far as I know, Argentina was one of the few latin american countries that were able to sell in the Play Store and now it's gone. It kind of kills my hope that they may eventually give support to my country.

I know I can establish an LLC in US to fix this, but it is something that we would rather not to do. It is kind of a bummer that Google makes it so difficult to do business in certain countries.

The Kirchners continue to work wonders for the Argentine economy.

It has nothing to do with them. Read the article and try again.

> Due to ongoing challenges making payments to Argentine developers, we will no longer be able to pay Google Play developers based in Argentina.


The main reason seems to be the integration of Google Play with Google Wallet which would definitely be a problematic product for argentinian dollars restriction.

Of course it has everything to do with them. The current administration consists of former Marxist guerrillas who openly state that they don't believe in the quantity theory of money, that, in fact, it's the stores that are causing inflation. They clamped down hard on dollar exchanges in 2011 and now there is a black market dollar rate (vs the "official" rate).

Certainly, if you're happy with the situation and you're an Argentine, by all means, continue to support Kirchnerismo.

Its not a big issue since we (Argentines) can open a company in Uruguay which is pretty close, or even a LLC online (U$S 250 per year). And probably most people doesn't know, but then we can get U$S in a bank account in Uruguay, and instead of change them for Argentine pesos in the Argentine banks (AR$ 5 = U$S 1), we can sell it on the street (AR$ 9 = U$S 1), and earn a 80% revenue because of stupid laws, crazy, right?

The main problem we have now, is that the government spends a lot of money on social plans to get people to vote them (instead of creating real jobs, obama care?), and they steal too much money as well (google for "Lázaro Báez", "Raúl Copetti", "Rudy Olloa" among others) that they ended with an artificial inflation of 25% every year. So people started to buy U$S and other currencies to be able to save their money, and the government cut this right from the people (so they make you by law, to save your money in AR$, and your money will be devaluated 25% every year, you can invest if you have enough money, if you do well, the government takes 50% on your earnings, if you do bad, the government doesn't give you the 50% of the looses, and good luck having enough revenue from your investments in order to avoid loosing the annual 25% :P).

I also have to mention that even when we are in a capitalist economy, the politicians in Argentine says all the time that we have a big economic problem because of evil business people, who run the business and increase the prices and make all this inflation problem, so while most of the countries in Latin America got thousands of millions of dollars in investments (and like Uruguay, they are starting to create laws to avoid so much money getting into the country so quickly), we don't know what to do or how to get foreign investments into the country. Why would you invest in Argentine if they are going to tell you that the inflation is your fault, that you are evil and most important, they won't let you to get your revenue to other country if you want to? So they had a brilliant idea on the last week, they are creating a law where everyone can get U$S to Argentine, they are going to give you a "bond" in exchange, and if the money came from drug deals, terrorism or whatever, it doesn't mind, the government is going to do the laundry service that the mafia usually do, for free!!!

Anyway, Argentine is getting aligned to countries like Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, and its following their politics, nothing good can came from that, but what can you expect from a government that used to put bombs on the street and kill innocent civilians? I would never ever understand how these people got into the government, or how these people ended giving "Ethic" classes in public universities, real story. Our last defense minister was an active member of "Montoneros", a terrorist organization in Argentine, they killed members of the military, they put bombs on the street where they killed civilians, tortured military members (google for "coronel Larrabure") and she ended being the defense minister? Can you imagine Al Qaeda member managing the USA Army?

Our president, who talks all the time about the last military government and human rights, made a lot of money with that government by using the "Martinez de Hoz" law, so she worked for the banks, she put pressure to the poor people that couldn't pay his house loans, and told them "You are going to loose your house, and you won't get any money, or you can sell me the money for pennies, and I'll take care of the debt", and then went to talk with his clients (the banks) and get a better deal for the current house loan, that's the way she got rich, after stealing money from the poors, she and her husband got into politics, being a governor of a State (Province, Santa Cruz) they sold by law a company that is call YPF to private holders, and took all the money under their name out of the country in U$S (and now she said that U$S is an evil currency), we never saw that money again, she got elected president, and now she said that Menem government was worng (another dumb ass who gave all the government companies away and did a lot of corruption things), and bough YPF back for a lot of money. Now the company is filled with a lot of persons that just support her government, they steal a lot of money and we import most of the petroleum we consume (being a petroleum producer, we have to import petroleum).

And most people in Argentine loves Kichner (54%) in the same way most people here loves Obama, so start paying a lot of attention to what's going on in Argentine, because you have the same kind of "Populist Government" that we had on many countries in Latin America for over the last years. I also forgot to talk about security, it doesn't exist, a uncle of my girlfriend (crazy uncle) made her wife to starve to death, he tied her to bed and waited until she died. He got 14 years on jail, then he went out and formed a new family. People who does violent robberies or whatever, they got into the police station and get released to the next day, last day, one person went with a gun into a federal court, the police got him, and he spent on the police station a couple of hours, threating all the people saying that we belonged to "La Campora", an organization that supports Cristina Kincher and was founded by his son. If you get robbed in Argentine, you usually say "Thank you" to the robbers because they didn't take your life, and they do it a lot, all the time, common business in Argentine. At this point, we would love to have a "Second Amendment", the right to have a gun and defend ourselves, pretty bad we never had it. You have this right and you are going to give it away, smart move.

And by the way, if you start seeing a lot of smart Argentine developers in USA, don't get surprised, we are trying to get away from the country while we still have the right to do it (if we leave the country, then we loose all our money, no way to buy foreign currency even if you decide to leave the country).

Probably I did a big offtopic, I just wanted to share what's the current situation in Argentine, and what's going on in Latin America.

Perhaps the main reason for Google Play is the current laws restriction for getting foreign currencies and to get the money out of the country.

Google has other business in Argentine as well (as google ad sense), but on the last months we also have restrictions to buy things in dollars with our credit cards, to extract money from foreign ATM (most people were going to Uruguay to extract U$S from the ATM), and the government is trying to avoid by force to let people or companies to take the money out of Argentine.

So it may be related to our laws.

Maybe the government had a talk with Google? We've had currency restrictions for almost ten years now in Venezuela and we don't have any restrictions related to Adsense income. I don't have a way to get the dollars to Venezuela but I can deposit checks via snail mail to an account in the US or Panama. The black market price of the dollar here is almost 5 times the official rate! Imagine what that does to the economy of a country that produces nothing but oil...

> The main problem we have now, is that the government spends a lot of money on social plans to get people to vote them (instead of creating real jobs, obama care?)

So, even when it's not clear what caused this change in Google Play, you're blaming the government.

> what can you expect from a government that used to put bombs on the street and kill innocent civilians?


> And most people in Argentine loves Kichner (54%) in the same way most people here loves Obama

It's called democracy. It works pretty well in most countries.

> At this point, we would love to have a "Second Amendment", the right to have a gun and defend ourselves, pretty bad we never had it

You can legally own a gun in Argentina.

Please, try to improve the quality of the information you bring here, so we can have a rational discussion about this news, which in essence is a change in Google Play that affects developers in Argentina. At this point, everything else is speculation.

1) The reason Play can't operate in Argentina is because of government imposed currency controls have made cross border payments very difficult (reread 1st & 2nd paragraphs).

2) Learn about the Montoneros and it's members participation in the Kirchener governments (see paragraph 4).


3) Democracy may be the least worst form of government but Kirchener's populist policies are slowly destroying what should be a great country. This is a weakness of Democracy - the government can buy votes at the expense of future growth.

4) Gun laws are quite strict in Argentina and have become much stricter under the Kichener government. There is no right to own a gun in Argentina.

You lecture the poster about the "quality of their information" and not being "rational" but almost everything you say is wrong. Not cool.

"It's called democracy. It works pretty well in most countries."

Well whup-de-doo. It's working pretty badly in this country.

> It's called democracy. It works pretty well in most countries.

Oh? How's Obama's "Change You Can Believe In" working out for you so far?

Please, stop jumping to conclusions. This doesn't seem to be because of the Argentine government, as Chile has also been removed from Google Play.

(Spanish) http://faqsandroid.com/google-retira-a-chile-y-mas-paises-de...

(English) http://translate.google.com.ar/translate?sl=es&tl=en&...

So, now it seems that is Google who has to explain the reasons of this move. If I had to guess, I would say that those countries didn't represent a big market for them to support. But we won't know the reason behind this until Google reports one.

UPDATE: https://support.google.com/googleplay/android-developer/answ...

>"Due to ongoing challenges making payments to Argentine developers, we will no longer be able to pay Google Play developers based in Argentina."


>"We realize this change will be painful, and will continue exploring ways to resume funding Argentine developers."

While they don't specify which challenges they are facing, I read somewhere that the problem seems to be that banks in Argentina charge international transfers with a fee of around 1/1000 of the money being transferred, with a minimum fee of around (usd) $75, making the payments too expensive for Google on small accounts.

I don't know much about it, but Argentina was in the list 3 weeks ago, while Chile wasn't.


Looks like Cristina is following in the footsteps of Chavez. I hope Argentina can open its eyes before they get to the point Venezuela is. Right now we even have a shortage of toilet paper so you can imagine what it's like here rig now. We (Venezuela) are an oil producing country with constant power outages, food and basics shortage, 25+% inflation and 21k violent deaths last year only. Wake up Argentina. (sorry about the multiple posts, something wrong with my browser)

Yet people continue voting for the same government. This is exactly why I think democracy cannot possible work in poor countries, sadly.

My bullshit de tectector is twiddling. 1) Uruguay is only close to BsAs 2) passing everything on the Kirchners without talking of either the dictature or Menem and the mess he created seems a bit disonhest, because there is no simple way out 3) don't forget that Cuba and Venezuela are actively sabotaged by the most powerful country in the world, we have no independent mesure of their government actions without foreign interference.

There is no easy way out for Argentina, and fleeing the country being for Chile or the US is not helping anything.

1) And Brasil to Misiones, Jujuy to Bolivia, You also have Chile and other countries without money restrictions. Yet most business are made in Buenos Aires, and there is still a lot of people that doesn't live close to the borders and that it won't be a solution for them, yet it will be a way to get around this restriction if you live close to the border.

2) Luckily I don't have to talk much about Menem and the military, because they are not at the power anymore :) And I'm most worried for the current politics, than the politics for 10-20 years ago, yet I still wanted to talk a little about the background of the current president. Actually Menem still has a seat in the senate, could you remind me who is he aligned with at the moment? I'll give you a clue: http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-e6yqY3d7JA0/TY9oVCxqzLI/AAAAAAAABi...

3) And I also don't forget all other other countries whose example we can follow, like Chile, Brasil and so on. Following Cuba and Venezuela examples/politics its just bad business and bad politics, specially if it risk you to a "USA" economic ban ;)

I agree that leaving the country won't help the current situation in Argentine, but I also understand that most people with the studies and the experience is starting to leave the country, most of my developer friends started to leave the country this year. But feel free to go to Argentine, earn a salary in the local currency for your hard work, without being able to take your money out of the country and looking for a way to save your savings from the inflation. And good luck trying to gets investors if you plan to develop a company, specially at the time where you will have to explain them how you plan to give them back their investment and earnings with the current restrictions.

>"don't forget that Cuba and Venezuela are actively sabotaged by the most powerful country in the world,"

Funny thing that you claimed to have a bullshit detector and you wrote this. As a Venezuelan I even find it offensive.

How come that the "most powerful country in the world" is sabotaging Venezuela? By being its main client? There are way more convenient oil producers out there and still the business relationship is held.

In any case, please leave the politics outside of HN. We (Venezuelans) have to deal with enough politics BS and we don't need more, specially in a technical forum.

1) BA is not only the political and business capital but has 40% of the population and is 10 times larger than the next biggest city.

2) Menem was last president in 1999 and the last dictator was in 1983. The Kirchners have run Argentina continuously for a decade. They are responsible for many of Argentina's current problems.

3) The US is not sabotaging either Cuba or Argentina. Like in Argentina their leaders have done a fine job by themselves.

  3) The US is not sabotaging either Cuba or Argentina. Like in Argentina their leaders have done a fine job by themselves.
This is, charitably put extremely revisionist and factually just plain wrong.

Or how would you describe the longest running trade embargo on the planet (since 1960 and since 1962 practically a total embargo) if not sabotaging a country?

You can argue that communism and the Castros where terrible for the island, but arguing that the US did not sabotage Cuba and hurt the Cuban economy as viciously as possible is just flat out wrong and historical revisionism of the worst kind.

Of course the trade embargo has harmed the Cuban economy and personally I think it should have been ended long ago. However a trade embargo is not sabotage and there were reasons why it was originally put in place (Cuban missile crisis, expropriation of US property). As usual the US political leadership has failed to recognize the failure of its policies and make any changes[1]. Actual sabotage against Cuba probably ended in the 1960s and may have continued somewhat longer but certainly ended decades ago[2].

However it is important to understand that most of the harm to the Cuban economy was done by its own government. Why? Because these policies have keep them in power for over 50 years. The Castro regime itself (not the Cuban people or economy) actually benefits from the embargo by being able to blame the US for everything wrong with their economy. In fact most of these problems are actually due to communist policies known long ago not to work and adopted purely on ideology[3].

[1] http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/time-end- cuba-embargo

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Project

[3] http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2010/10/how-much-does-the-mark...

These are just a sample of the many resources available online. I encourage anyone interested to do your own research and be sure to examine sources with multiple points of view (Cato is libertarian (some would say right) while De Long is generally considered progressive or left). As great as HN is it is often contains incorrect information on basic facts and interpretation of events.

Thanks for clarifying your point. This makes it not only much more digestable, but sounds actually quite reasonable.

  However a trade embargo is not sabotage and there were reasons why it was originally put in place 
That's probably a difference of perspective, or opinion. In a way - and in my perception - an embargo towards a country is a form of sabotage. No need to nitpick this point, though.

While the reason for the embargo is well documented and quite understandable. The main reason why it's going on for so long is probably the massive and unproportionally large influence of the Cuban exile community. A lot of them pretty unsavory types.

Also, while I don't want to defend the Castros it should be noted that Batista, his predecessor who came into this role by a coup (he was elected president in the 40s, but would'nt stand a chance to be re-elected, so he putshed) was not a friend of the people and that the revolution had huge popular support.

In any case: thanks for the links. I don't really care if an argument comes from the left, or the right as long it's well layed out and soundly reasoned. As a matter of fact I read a few quite good papers and essays by the Cato Institute, even though we're certainly not on the same page politically (it yet needs to be seen where they move to, when the Kochs succeed with their takeover, though).

Cheers, interesting discussion.

(Cuban in Cuba here)

The Cuban exile is really hurting the country, sometimes I see US and Cuba leaders try to make things up and some guy from Miami comes out and mess the whole thing, there is so much hate, nothing good comes out of this.

I think you're right on the first 2 points actually. I'm skewed towards smaller cities because I don't like big capitals, and I should not project that on analysis of the situation. And It's been 10 years now, with a good majority since 2007, it's time to see some results.

scratch that, the Kirchners doubled the GNP, the debt went from 160% to 40% of the GNP, and unemployment from 25% down to 8% (less than here in France). These are results.

And according to the government, Argentine poverty index its of 5.4% (sooner or later people from Switzerland will start migrating to our country, we are in a better shape than them), and the inflation is 10% every year. At least that's what the government say. The agencies who used to metric the inflation, got an economic fine from the government, the government don't even let you to advertise the price of food.

Do you know for real what's the unemployment index? Can we ask that to the economic minister? This is our economic minister: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tmoOnEIzU18

Definitely the situation is much better than in 2001, we know that, we hear that every day, every time you say something is not right, or that you complain, you hear "hey, you wanna get back to the 2001?".

The answer is always the same "I don't want to get back to the 80s, or 90s, or to the 2001, and neither the lack of freedom of Venezuela or the communism from Cuba".

Yet the debt restructuring was a great deal, and we have to thank all the people who have lend money to us on the past and that accepted that we were going to pay only 25-30% of the original debt at a longer term.

You know, I can own the bank 140% of my income, and if I made them to accept that I’m just going to pay 25% of what I own them (or go broke and pay nothing at all), I’ll get my debt to 35% of my income. Certainly, it was a great deal for Argentine, but it doesn't mean that the country did so good that it was able to pay the debt.

I feel for you. It doesn't stop to amaze me how people still defend those countries economical models, just to spite the "evil empire" in the north it seems, because they don't make any sense. The video you post is indisputable. Also, Venezuela is currently suffering toilet paper shortage. Their government is saying it's because people are eating more and thus shitting more. That's the kind of arguments governments pull out here south. Frigging failed countries, one just has to flee as soon as one has the chance.

"Their government is saying it's because people are eating more and thus shitting more"

I read that on Twitter yesterday but I couldn't find a source. Not that I don't believe because I had heard worse, but was it true? Who said that?

I read it here http://www.semana.com/mundo/articulo/no-papel-higienico-porq... which supposedly is a reputed Colombian magazine, but trying to find the exact part in the video I couldn't find it. So maybe it was just a gross misleading misinterpretation by the magazine. Venezuela gives plenty of material to criticize so it beats me why a journalist has to recur to lies...

It's not the first time government officials in Venezuela have said something similar. They say that the constant power outages (in one of the largest oil producers in the world) are because now the venezuelan people are so well off thanks to the govt that they have more money to spend on air conditioning,refrigerators,etc... Same reason why you cannot buy a car in a dealership (and used car prices double year after year), why there are constant shortages of basic food,etc.

This is just too hilarious to be true and it seems not to be direct quote from a government official but more the popular interpretation of a widely ridiculed statement by the head of the Venezuelan stats office.


Thanks for this. I couldn't find that in the video either but that video doesn't show the whole interview, so who knows?

I had heard worse thought, like a congressman asking to investigate DirectTV because it was spying venezuelans through receivers... Oh well...

> Definitely the situation is much better than in 2001

It is also better than in 2001 in Peru, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay and even Colombia. Those countries have had more than 5% economic growth, little inflation and with no crazy socialist policies. Also, Argentina was rock bottom in 2001 so they could only go up from there. Anyway, I totally sympathize with your situation. Tienes que ser fuerte y si las cosas se vuelven peor, largate de ahi, no hay porque sentirse culpable. Uruguay tiene playas bonitas :)

How does an incoherent paranoid extremist rant make it to the top of this thread?

It wasn't incoherent, and being "extremist" isn't necessarily a bad thing.

So I suppose you're just complaining that it's paranoid. How so?

Can you elaborate?

You're not surprised that someone who doesn't agree with your leftist ideology got to the top of the thread, you're just mad about it.

Could you do us a favor and make this a bit easier to read by breaking it in to paragraphs by separating them with a blank line? It looks to be a valuable post, but the formatting makes it extra work to read, and some people may skip over it as a result. Thanks.

You're not losing too much really. The few bits of useful information in that post are buried beneath a mountain of hyperbolic reasoning and incoherent associations.

Yes, the economical situation is pretty bad. The middle-class salaries never catch up with the inflation; in fact they get behind.

Also, the corruption in rampant across all power spheres. It's not only the politicians the ones who fuck the future of the country.

But it's not like giving money to the poor or politicians take more than it's expected of them are the greatest problems in Argentina; at least as i see it. We're really lagging behind in education and basic social services. I feel that if we can't get the basics right, there's no chance we'll prevent the people in the upper spheres from stealing or making shit laws.

Anyway, it's not that everything is lost or anything like that. There're many things that we should fix, but i guess that can be said about every country. We still got awesome people here. And i don't want to let all the negativity blind me from the good things that we have, and what we can work with :)

rorra: kid please, what a useless wall of text, please note that Chile is in the same situation, then your entire post = FAIL

Getting the fuck out was a smart move. You did the right thing, don't worry about clueless sheeple bleating about how leaving "doesn't help". It does. It helps you, and possibly your family too.

Note that the article is in Spanish, but the full letter sent to the developers in English is included.

Nothing new.

"Educated" latin americans are expected to be able to, at least, read english. More so in tech fields.

I know, I was saying that for English speakers that open the link and find an article totally in Spanish, that there is something for them to read.

Google Translate actually doesn't do a terrible job on the article text (it's not perfect, but it's understandable). It does kind of mess-up the English in the email though.

Does anyone have any information to what actually changed in Argentina that caused this?

I'm sad for our neighbours... At the same time, I really hope we manage to not do the same mistakes here at Brazil.

They can solve this opening a company abroad. It is cheap to establish an LLC in US.

Citation needed.

You need a US bank account, social security number, a permanent address, etc. I'd be pleasantly surprised if you could do it without spending at least 10k.

No citation is needed.

1. Open an LLC: cheap.

2. Open a Bank Account: travel to US and they will open one with the LLC without a social security number.

3. Transfer funds to the LLC.

You can do it for less than USD 2000.

But USD 2k is a whole lot of money for people in some of the countries where they'd need to resort to this to put something on the Google store. Not something you'd easily have access to.

And there are also the issues in sending that money abroad. It's not so easy in many of those countries too.

But if you get the money into a bank in a country close to Argentine (you can go to Uruguay and get back to Buenos Aires in the day for U$S 60), you can then get American Dollars from a bank account in Uruguay, and you get all that money back even with earnings by selling the dollars on the street.

Definitely its not an easy way to start, but its a way to survive.

The USD 2k includes a travel so you can enjoy it. You need to do the bank paperwork on situ.

And USD 2k is not a lot of money for an independent developer in Argentina.

For a company or established independent developer it's not a big deal. But for many people it is a lot of money, it's currently ~8 minimum wages at black market dollar-peso price (which is the only one available for someone in that situation).

Someone working as a semi sr. developer is earning $ 1K so in two months you can afford it. And this is a long term investment.

In the worst case many people can join together to share the same company.

$1k at the official dollar (non black market) value probably, which is not available. That price is 50% of the black market's one, so it'd be $500.

I don't mean that this money will prevent anyone from getting their apps paid, but it'd really discourage indie developers to start new apps, as it's now more expensive and complicated.

They can use that account for receiving money for other jobs. I don't think they make money at all in Google Play.

I don't even think they need to have a company, a person can sell apps.

But it's a huge turn off for indie developers.

There are still some options. Check this site: http://www.coopdam.org/

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