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PhonePe Launches Indus Appstore, Challenging Google Play Store in India

indus appstore

PhonePe, the digital payments giant, has made a significant move in India’s app ecosystem by launching the Indus Appstore, a homegrown Android app store aimed at challenging the dominance of Google’s Play Store. The launch, which took place on February 21, 2024, positions PhonePe as a game-changer in India’s digital landscape.

The Rise of Indus Appstore

  • Indus Appstore: This made-in-India app store is designed to cater to the needs of Indian consumers. It comes as a direct competitor to Google Play Store, which has long held a monopoly in the app distribution market.
  • Mobile App Usage Surge: Indians spent a staggering 1.19 trillion hours on mobile apps in 2023, a significant increase from 954 billion hours in 2021. The country also ranks as the world’s largest market in terms of app downloads.
  • Strategic Timing: PhonePe’s Indus Appstore launch comes about four months after the company opened up its app marketplace to Android developers. This move invited developers to publish their apps on the platform, signaling PhonePe’s intent to capitalize on India’s booming app economy.

Key Features of Indus Appstore

  1. Made-in-India: Indus Appstore proudly carries the “Made in India” tag, resonating with the government’s push for self-reliance and indigenous innovation.
  2. Availability in 12 Indian languages: Unlike Play Store’s English-only interface, Indus Appstore supports Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and other regional languages, making it more accessible to a wider audience.
  3. No mandatory email login: The appstore allows users to log in seamlessly using their phone numbers, eliminating the need for an email address, which many Indians lack.
  4. Focus on local apps and developers: Indus Appstore actively seeks to promote and feature apps developed by Indian companies and entrepreneurs.
  5. Zero listing fees for developers: Until 2025, app developers will not incur any fees for listing their apps on the platform, making it an attractive option compared to Play Store’s fee structure.
  6. No commission on in-app purchases: PhonePe promises not to charge any commission on purchases made within apps downloaded from Indus Appstore, potentially benefiting both developers and users.

“The Indus Appstore is a testament to our commitment to building a truly Indian digital ecosystem,” said Sameer Nigam, CEO of PhonePe. “We believe that by offering a localized experience, supporting Indian developers, and providing a transparent platform, we can create a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

The Google Play Store Standoff

PhonePe’s move to launch Indus Appstore also coincides with an ongoing standoff between Google and several Indian startups and internet firms. The bone of contention lies in Google’s Play Store policies and commission fees. By introducing an alternative app store, PhonePe aims to provide Indian developers and consumers with more choices and foster healthy competition.

However, the Indus Appstore faces several challenges. Gaining user trust and attracting a significant app base will be crucial for its success. Additionally, navigating potential regulatory hurdles and competing with the established presence of Google Play Store will require strategic maneuvering.

The launch of Indus Appstore marks a significant development in the Indian app market. While its long-term impact remains to be seen, it has the potential to shake up the status quo and offer users and developers a truly Indian alternative.

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