India’s PhonePe launches Android app store with Amazon, Meta and Microsoft apps

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India's PhonePe launches Android app store with Amazon, Meta and Microsoft apps

Microsoft, Amazon and Meta are among the top brands whose apps are available on the Indian fintech PhonePe’s Indus Appstore, an app store for the Android mobile operating system, launched Wednesday in challenge to Google’s monopoly in its largest market by users.

Indus Appstore supports 12 regional languages and features over 200,000 apps — including Flipkart, Spotify, and Paytm — across 45 categories on launch Wednesday, the Bengaluru-headquartered startup said. The app store supports third-party payments and levies no listing fees, it said. If developers use third-party payments services and gateways, PhonePe will still not levy any fee, said the startup’s founder and chief executive Sameer Nigam at a press conference.

Google apps were missing from the store, which started courting developers in September last year. PhonePe is working with many third-party aggregators, though many big brands have also signed up to the app store, it said.

Indus Appstore features several other localized features, including short-video based discovery and login via mobile number instead of email address. It also offers “smart updates,” that will beam updates to consumers’s phones at times when they are not consuming much data.

India, the world’s largest market by app downloads, is a nation of 750 million to 800 million connected smartphone users. Indus Appstore exists because as a nation “we want to have a point of view on what we can and cannot do,” Nigam said, adding that what the nation consumes should not be controlled by one or two companies.

“We will offer an alternative with different set of features and capabilities. Some will like us, some will like others. We are just asking for a chance to compete on merit,” he said, noting that competition will push Google to improve its Play Store terms in India.

PhonePe is making the app store available to download to consumers from its website. Nigam said the firm is in talks with “multiple” phonemakers and hopes to close some deals in the coming weeks.

“Indus Appstore challenges the status quo, ushering in an era of more healthy competition in the mobile app marketplace, which in turn should help create a more democratic and vibrant Indian digital ecosystemm,” Nigam said in a statement. “Indus Appstore embodies our commitment to building a truly inclusive digital ecosystem where every Indian user feels at home.”

Ivan Mehta contributed to this report.

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