Walmart’s PhonePe launches app store with zero fee in challenge to Google | TechCrunch

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PhonePe launched the Indus AppStore Developer Platform on Saturday, promising no platform fee or commission on in-app purchases as the Walmart-backed fintech races to win Android developers in Google’s largest market.

The Bengaluru-headquartered startup said developers can start registering and uploading their apps on the “Made-in-India” app store, which supports 12 Indian languages and also features a login system that revolves around mobile numbers.

PhonePe will not charge developers any listing fee for the first year but move to a “nominal” cost thereafter, it said. PhonePe has setup an India-based team for providing support to developers, a feature that may appeal to many local developers who have been frustrated with Google’s slow and U.S. timezone work hours.

TechCrunch reported about PhonePe’s plan to launch the app store in April. The startup, which has raised $850 million in recent quarters, has been working on the app store for years and internally sees it as a strategically crucial move, according to people familiar with the matter.

Indus Appstore Developer Platform’s launch comes at a time when many Indian businesses and startups have grown frustrated with Google, whose Android mobile operating system powers 97% of all smartphones in the country.

But despite the market size, app developers in India have always been forced to work with only one App Store for distributing their apps, said Akash Dongre, CPO & Co-Founder, Indus Appstore, in a statement.

“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,” he added.

PhonePe said it will offer a range of additional features that developers can’t find on other platforms, including real-time analytics, deep insights on industry trends, and competitor analysis.


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