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    Vikshita Vitthal Gujaran in News

    22 Feb 07:31 AM


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    PhonePe launches Indus Appstore, a made-in-India rival to Google Play Store

    Walmart-owned PhonePe on February 21 launched the much-anticipated Indus Appstore, a homegrown Android app store designed as a challenger to Google Play Store, to consumers in India, the world’s second-largest smartphone market.

    The Indus Appstore app is currently available on the company’s website, which consumers can download and manually install the app on their smartphones. It will also offer a mobile number-based login system to attract consumers without email accounts.

    The launch comes about four months after the digital payments firm opened up its app marketplace to Android developers, inviting them to publish their app on the platform, as first reported by Moneycontrol in September 2023.

    PhonePe claims that users can currently download over 2 lakh mobile apps and games across 45 categories from the app marketplace. It aims to increase this figure to 5 lakh apps by the end of this year.
    The app store will also offer a new short-video based discovery feature, in order to make the process of discovering new apps more engaging for consumers.
    With the Indus Appstore, the company is seeking to capitalise on India’s booming app economy. Indians spent about 1.19 trillion hours on mobile apps in 2023, up from 954 billion hours in 2021, as per app intelligence firm data.ai. The country is also the world’s largest market in terms of app downloads.

    The launch also comes amid an ongoing standoff between Google and some of the country’s top startups and internet firms over the former’s Play Store policies and commission fees.

    Developer platform launch

    For Android developers, Indus Appstore allows them to list their apps in 12 Indian languages apart from English, as well as upload media and videos to their app listings in these languages.

    More importantly, the app marketplace will charge a zero percent fee on in-app purchases compared to the 15-30 percent fee levied by Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

    PhonePe CEO Sameer Nigam said that the app listings on the platform would be free for the first year, until April 1, 2025, following which a nominal annual fee would be charged.

    Developers will also be able to integrate any third-party payment gateway of their choice on the platform for in-app billing and Indus Appstore won't levy any fee for these transactions, he said.

    At a later date, Indus Appstore will also provide its own in-app billing and catalog solutions, but they will be optional for app developers, he said.