Indian Financial Technology company PhonePe is preparing to launch a new dedicated app store for Indian Android users. The app store will launch in the coming weeks, according to internal documents reviewed by Techcrunch. This move comes in the wake of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) directing Android and Google Play to open up their platforms to alternative app stores.
PhonePe is a market leader in mobile payments in India, the second largest economy in Asia, and has the backing of retail giant Walmart. The new app store will offer localised services based on customer context and aims to assist developers with user acquisition through multilingual solutions.
Techcrunch reports that PhonePe is “the most valuable Indian fintech startup that competes aggressively with Google’s Google Pay app in India”. Sources familiar with the matter state that, through its new app store, the company hopes to “strengthen its engagement with smartphone vendors, including with forms including Xiaomi”.
The rise of the alternative
Alternative app stores are a growing industry, with companies hoping to challenge the so-called duopoly of Google and Apple. Meanwhile, developers and publishers can circumvent the significant cut charged by the companies.
In a statement to Techcrunch, a PhonePe spokesperson said that it hopes to provide a service that is “more localised not just from a language perspective but also from a discovery and consumer interest perspective.”
PhonePe has confirmed that it is holding discussions with multiple phone makers in India, stating that “everyone is very receptive, especially since CCI has clarified that Google cannot engage in anti-competitive practices.”
“We expect to be live on all Android OEMs within the first few months of launch. We have already closed terms with one of the largest OEMs and are trying to get the others rapidly onboard over the next couple of months.”
Last month, a report by Sensor Tower found that India is one of the leading markets for app installs.