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PhonePe Launches Indus AppStore Developer Platform
PhonePe, the fintech startup backed by Walmart, has launched the Indus AppStore Developer Platform in a bid to attract Android developers in India. The platform promises several advantages for developers, including zero platform fees and no commission on in-app purchases. This move comes as PhonePe aims to win over developers who have been dissatisfied with Google’s platform in the country.
Registration and App Uploads Start Today
Starting today, developers can register and upload their apps on the Indus AppStore. This “made-in-India” app store features a range of locally relevant features, such as support for third-party payment providers, 12 Indian languages, and a login system based on phone numbers. PhonePe has also partnered with phonemakers for app distribution.
No Listing Fee for the First Year
PhonePe has announced that it will not charge developers any listing fee for the first year. After the initial year, developers can expect to pay a “nominal” cost. Additionally, PhonePe will not impose any commission on in-app purchases, which is a significant departure from Google’s 15-30% commission rate.
Dedicated India-Based Support Team
In a move to address the concerns of local developers, PhonePe has set up an India-based support team to offer assistance. This initiative aims to resolve the frustrations surrounding Google’s delayed responses and U.S. timezone operating hours.
Strategic Importance for PhonePe
The launch of the Indus AppStore Developer Platform is deemed a crucial strategic move for PhonePe. The fintech startup, which leads the UPI-based payments market in India, has been working on the app store for years. The platform not only provides an alternative to Google Play Store but also offers better app discovery and consumer engagement with its localized approach.
Necessity for an Alternative App Store
Many Indian businesses and startups have grown increasingly frustrated with Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers over 95% of all smartphones in India. Until now, app developers in the country have been compelled to work exclusively with Google Play Store for app distribution. Indus Appstore Developer Platform aims to address this issue and provide developers with a credible alternative.
Previous Attempts to Challenge Google Play Store
PhonePe’s initiative follows similar efforts by local entrepreneurs to combat what they see as exorbitant fees imposed by Google Play Store. Some businesses even formed a Paytm-led mini app store alliance. However, PhonePe is optimistic that with the push from India’s watchdog and the demand for features tailored to local needs, such as real-time analytics and competitor evaluations, this latest attempt will be more successful than past endeavors.
Google’s Presence in the Indian Market
India represents a crucial overseas market for Google, where the company has invested over $10 billion in the past decade. With a user base of over 700 million internet users, Google has faced criticism and regulatory intervention in the country. Google was hit with two antitrust fines in India and made changes to its business agreements following pressure. The company warns that further changes may result in expensive devices and security threats.
PhonePe’s Expansion into New Categories
The Indus AppStore Developer Platform is the latest move from PhonePe as the fintech startup expands into new sectors. With a valuation of $12 billion, PhonePe launched an e-commerce app this year and introduced Share.Market, an app where users can open trading accounts and invest in stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs, last month.