Walmart-backed PhonePe to challenge Google’s dominance with an app store in India

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 dominates the mobile payments market in Asia’s second-biggest economy.

The app store, designed to offer hyper-localized services based on customer context, aims to help developers with “high-quality” user acquisition 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 Bangalore-based startup’s acquisition of IndusOS, an app store maker that served customers through a partnership with smartphone providers.

PhonePe, the most valuable Indian fintech startup that aggressively competes with Google’s Google Pay app in India, plans to strengthen its engagement with smartphone vendors, including firms like 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 to download as a separate product from Google Play, will offer a “premiere experience for millions of users with high-quality ads and personalized targeting,” support for 12 languages, and 24/7 live chat. 7 days a week, the document indicates. saying.

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

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

PhonePe confirmed that it is having multiple discussions with phone makers in India, saying “everyone is very receptive, especially as CCI has clarified that Google cannot engage in anti-competitive practices.”

“All OEMs are excited about PhonePe’s creation of a localized app store for the Indian market. We expect to be available on all Android OEMs within the first few months of release. We have already closed terms with one of the largest OEMs and are looking to quickly bring the others on board in the coming months.”

The app store is the latest product from PhonePe, which recently entered the e-commerce category as well. The startup parted ways with its parent company Flipkart last year.

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