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Walmart-owned PhonePe announces rival Android App Store in India

Indus Appstore PhonePe

Walmart-owned digital payments giant PhonePe has launched its Indus Appstore Developer Platform in India. The company said in a press release that its native Android app store is "designed to fulfill the localized and cultural needs of Indian consumers."

Indus Appstore will allow developers to list their apps in over 12 Indian languages other than English. PhonePe is inviting all Android app developers to register and list their apps on the newly launched platform, adding there will be no listing fee for the first year.

"These apps will be listed on the soon to be launched “Made-in-India” Indus Appstore," it said. The official Indus Appstore website read "Coming Soon..." at the time of writing.

Developers will have to pay a "nominal annual fee" to list their apps after the first free year. The company is trying to attract Android developers by offering various perks such as zero commission on in-app purchases and the ability to integrate preferred payment gateway inside their apps.

PhonePe was founded in 2015 and is currently among the top players in the Indian payments market with a massive user base of over 450 million. Reports about its Android app store in the making surfaced earlier this year.

Indus Appstore will have an India-based dedicated customer support team offering 24*7 assistance to developers via email or chatbot. It will also have a Launch Pad for startups and app launches, offering better visibility and search optimization for new apps.

PhonePe said its app store will offer a mobile number-based login experience, noting that it is "extremely helpful in a market where many consumers don’t even have an email account." The app store will help developers adopt best practices by offering real-time analytics, competitor analysis, and deep insights into industry trends.

Akash Dogre, Indus Appstore's co-founder and CPO, said in a statement:

India is poised to have over 1 billion smartphone users by 2026 offering us a massive opportunity to build a new-age, localized Android app store. Despite being such a large consumer market, app developers have always been forced to work with only one app store – Google Playstore – for distributing their apps.

Indus Appstore hopes to provide app developers a credible alternative to the Google Playstore – one that is more localized and offers better app discovery and consumer engagement.

Google, which has had a dominant position in the Indian smartphone market and typically charges 15-30% as a service fee for in-app purchases, was fined by the Competition Commission of India (CCI). Among various changes it agreed to implement, the search giant said it will allow smartphone vendors to license individual apps for pre-installation.

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