Walmart-backed PhonePe set to challenge Google’s dominance with India’s App Store

Walmart-backed PhonePe set to challenge Google’s dominance with India’s App Store

Walmart-backed PhonePe set to challenge Google's dominance with India's App Store

Indian fintech giant PhonePe is preparing to launch a dedicated app store for Android users in India, the latest product push from the Walmart-backed company that controls the mobile payments market in Asia’s second-largest economy. .

App Store, designed to offer hyper-localized services based on customer context, aims to help developers acquire “high-quality” users through multilingual solutions, according to an internal company document reviewed by TechCrunch .

PhonePe’s entry into the App Store market, still several weeks away, follows the Bengaluru-based startup’s acquisition of IndusOS, an App Store maker that served its customers through a partnership with smartphone vendors.

PhonePe, India’s most valuable fintech startup aggressively competing with Google’s Google Pay app in India, plans to boost its engagement with smartphone vendors, including companies such as Xiaomi, and also make the App Store available as a standalone app for consumers in India, according to a source familiar with the matter.

The App Store, which will be available for download as a standalone product on Google Play, will deliver “a premium experience to millions of users with high-quality ads and personalized targeting”, supporting 12 languages ​​and a 24×7 live chat, the document said.

In a statement to TechCrunch, a spokesperson for PhonePe said that Google controls 97% of India’s app store market and there is an opportunity for someone like PhonePe, which has amassed over 350 million. registered users in the country, to create an alternative app store that is “more localized not only from a language perspective, but also from a consumer discovery and engagement perspective.”

The timing is also “favorable for us,” the company said, pointing to a recent order from India’s Antitrust Competition Commission that paves the way for other developers to build and launch their app stores on Google Play. A court has since granted Google some relief.

PhonePe confirmed having several conversations with phone manufacturers in India and said “everyone is very receptive, especially as CCI has clarified that Google cannot engage in anti-competitive practices.”

“All OEMs are excited for PhonePe to create a localized app store for the Indian market. We plan to go live on all Android OEMs within the first months of launch. We have already reached agreements with one major OEMs and are trying to quickly integrate the others over the next two months.”

The App Store is the latest product push from PhonePe, which recently also entered the e-commerce category. The startup spun off from its parent company Flipkart last year.


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