(CTN News) – Indus AppStore Developer Platform was launched by Walmart-backed fintech PhonePe on Saturday, promising zero platform fees and no commissions on in-app purchases.
Its eponymous payments app has over 450 million users, and developers can now register and upload their apps to the ‘made-in-India’ app store beginning today.
Additionally, PhonePe has partnered with phonemakers for distribution of the app store, including support for third-party payment providers, 12 Indian languages, and a phone-based login system.
After the first year, PhonePe will charge developers a “nominal” listing fee, it said. The startup will also not charge a commission on in-app purchases, unlike Google, which charges 15-30%.
In response to local developers’ concerns about Google’s delayed responses and U.S. timezone operating hours, PhonePe has set up an India-based support team to assist developers.
PhonePe plans to launch its app store in April,
According to TechCrunch. According to people familiar with the matter, PhonePe, which raised $850 million in recent quarters and acquired IndusOS in 2021 and fought a legal battle to complete the acquisition, has been preparing an app store for years and sees it as a crucial strategic move internally.
With the launch of Indus Appstore Developer Platform, many Indian startups and businesses have grown frustrated with Google, whose Android mobile operating system is found on over 95% of Indian smartphones.
Although the Indian app market is large, app developers must work with only one app store to distribute their apps, said Akash Dongre, co-founder and chief product officer of Indus Appstore. Apple’s market share in India remains low, despite its increasing presence.
As an alternative to Google Playstore, Indus Appstore aims to provide developers with a more localized app discovery and consumer engagement platform.
It’s not the first time local entrepreneurs have fought Google Play Store’s exorbitant fees. A Paytm-led mini app store alliance has been the hope of many Indian businesses seeking intervention in recent years.
Walmart-backed startup Flipkart is optimistic that the Indian government’s push to make Google accept third-party app stores and features pertinent to local needs, such as real-time analytics, in-depth industry trend insights, and competitor evaluations, will have a greater impact than previous attempts.
During the past decade, Google has invested over $10 billion in India as the company looks for the next big growth market outside of the U.S. In the South Asian market, Google reaches over 700 million internet users in the country, but is increasingly facing criticism and regulation intervention.
Two antitrust fines were imposed on the company in India a year ago, forcing it to make several changes to its business agreements.
Following Google’s compliance, it warned that changes to its terms would raise prices in the world’s second largest smartphone market and lead to a proliferation of unchecked apps posing security threats.
As PhonePe expands into several new categories, the app store is the latest push. Currently valued at $12 billion, the startup launched an e-commerce app this year and last month introduced Share.
Market, which allows users to open trading accounts and invest in stocks, mutual funds, and ETFs.