PhonePe launches Indus Appstore: ‘Zero fee, Made-in-India’ challenge to Google


PhonePe announced on Saturday the launch of the Indus Appstore developer platform for the Android operating system, a foray into the country’s app store arena.

PhonePe launches Indus Appstore(PhonePe)

These apps will find a place on the soon-to-be-launched “Made-in-India” Indus Appstore, designed to offer a localised experience in 12 languages tailored for Indian audiences, the company said in a statement, PTI reported.

Google and Apple App Stores are known for imposing significant fees, in terms of listing charges and commissions on app subscriptions and in-app purchases. Currently, the standard commission rate stands up to 30 per cent. However, both dominant platforms have introduced programmes to provide discounts to small developers after facing criticism for their ‘exorbitant rates.’

PhonePe, the Walmart-backed fintech company, seems to bank on this opportunity. It has announced that app listings on the Indus Appstore Developer Platform will be free for the first year, with a “nominal annual fee” applying thereafter.

“The Indus Appstore will not charge developers any platform fee or commission for in-app payments. Developers will have the freedom to integrate any payment gateway of their choice within their own apps,” the statement added.

The Appstore also boasts a ‘Launch Pad’ feature to assist new developers in onboarding their apps, offering improved visibility and search optimisation.

Nevertheless, the app store is navigating within a highly monopolistic space. Its launch will face a clear challenge from Google, whose Android mobile operating system dominates over 95 per cent of all smartphones in the country. Google Play’s App Store boasts more than 35 lakh apps hosted on its Android platform. Among its markets, Indians are one of the top downloaders of apps on Google Playstore.

However, the dominance has also raised several eyebrows. In October, the country’s antitrust body imposed fines on Google in two cases, alleging abuse of its dominant position in the Android operating system market and the coercion of developers to use its in-app payment system.

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Phonepe’s app store is, however, not the first one offering alternatives to the app store giants. Several others including, the Paytm Mini App Store, Samsung Galaxy Store, GetApps (Xiaomi’s App Store), and Aptoide were launched, but they have had limited success.


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