PhonePe, the Indian fintech giant backed by Walmart, is gearing up to launch its own app store for Android users in India.
The company aims to provide a localized alternative to Google’s Play Store, which currently dominates the market. According to an internal company document reviewed by TechCrunch, the app store will offer hyper-localized services based on customer context, and will aim to assist developers with “high-quality” user acquisition through multilingual solutions.
In this article, we will discuss the plans of PhonePe to launch an app store in India, its objectives, and how it aims to compete with the dominant Google Play Store.
We will also look at the impact of the recent order from the Indian antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India, which paved the way for other developers to build and launch their app stores on Google Play.
The move follows PhonePe’s recent acquisition of IndusOS, an app store maker that served customers through partnership with smartphone vendors.
PhonePe plans to strengthen its engagement with smartphone vendors, including firms such as Xiaomi, according to a source familiar with the matter.
Currently, Google’s Play Store dominates the Android app store segment in India, accounting for 97% of the market.
However, PhonePe aims to build an alternative app store that is more localized, not just in terms of language, but also from the viewpoint of discovery and consumer interest.
PhonePe has already offered a mini app store within its marquee app for years.
The company’s senior developer has engaged with the startup’s leadership team, who have held the view that consumers are reluctant to download multiple apps on their phones, hence the focus on building an alternative app store that can provide a more localized and personalized experience for customers.
The app store will offer a “premiere experience” for millions of users with high-quality advertisements and custom targeting. The store will support 12 languages and 24×7 live chat, making it accessible and convenient for all users.
The company has confirmed that it is working to launch an app store in India, and is in talks with multiple Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) or phone manufacturers, including one of the largest OEMs in the market.
PhonePe aims to be live on all Android OEMs within the first few months of launch.
PhonePe’s app store plan has been prompted by a recent order from the Indian antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI) that paves the way for other developers to build and launch their app stores on Google Play.
The CCI had earlier accused Google of exploiting its dominant position in the Indian market and fined the search giant $161 million.
“All the OEMs are excited about PhonePe building out a localised App store for the Indian market. 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,” said the PhonePe spokesperson in a statement to TechCrunch.
The app store launch is the latest product push from PhonePe, which recently entered the e-commerce category. The company separated from its parent firm Flipkart last year to build its business independently and maximize enterprise value for its shareholders.
Replacing Google Play Store with a company’s own app store is a challenging task, but it can be done by following a few key steps.
First, companies need to develop an app store that offers an experience that is equal to or better than Google Play Store. The app store should be user-friendly and offer a wide range of apps that meet the needs of the users.
Second, to gain wider reach, companies need to secure partnerships with device manufacturers. The app store can come pre-installed on devices, which will increase the visibility of the app store.
A strong developer ecosystem is also essential for the success of an app store. Companies need to build relationships with developers and offer incentives such as revenue sharing, marketing support, and app promotion.
Third, app stores need to adhere to regulations set by authorities in the countries they operate in. Companies need to ensure that their app stores comply with local laws and regulations.
Lastly, companies need to promote their app store through various channels such as social media, email marketing, and advertising. They can also offer promotions such as discounts, free apps, or special features to attract users.
While it is important to note that replacing Google Play Store is a challenging task, with the right strategy and execution, companies can build successful app stores that provide users with a localized and personalized experience.
Google Play Store has a vast user base and an extensive library of apps, which is why companies need to ensure their app store offers something unique and valuable to users.
By building a compelling app store, securing partnerships with device manufacturers, building a strong developer ecosystem, adhering to regulations, and promoting the app store, PhonePe can successfully replace Google Play Store with their own app store.
Google Play Store is the official app store for Android operating system, which is used by more than 2.5 billion active Android devices worldwide. The Google Play Store was launched in 2008, and it offers millions of apps, games, music, books, and videos to users, making it one of the biggest app stores in the world.
As of September 2021, the Google Play Store had over 3.5 million apps available for download. The store is available in more than 190 countries, and it supports over 50 languages.
It is estimated that the Google Play Store generated approximately $38.6 billion in revenue for app developers in 2020, making it a significant revenue stream for app developers around the world.
Can the Apple Store disturb PhonePe’s App Store plans?
As a preeminent player in the global smartphone market, Apple could potentially pose a challenge to PhonePe’s app store plan in India. Although Apple’s market share in India is relatively small compared to Android, the company has a loyal user base and a robust app store ecosystem.
One of the key advantages that Apple has is its control over the hardware and software of its devices. This enables the company to offer a seamless user experience and ensures that apps perform optimally on its devices. In contrast, Android devices are made by multiple manufacturers, which can lead to fragmentation and compatibility issues.
Another advantage that Apple has is its brand equity and reputation for quality. Apple is seen as a premium brand in India, and its products are often associated with quality and reliability. This could give Apple an edge over PhonePe, which is a relatively new player in the app store space.
However, one potential challenge for Apple is its pricing strategy. Apple products are generally priced at a premium, which could limit its appeal to price-sensitive Indian consumers. In contrast, PhonePe’s app store could potentially offer a more affordable option for users looking to download apps.
Ultimately, the success of PhonePe’s app store will depend on its ability to offer a compelling user experience and attract developers to its platform. While Apple may pose a challenge, there is also the possibility that the two app stores could coexist and cater to different segments of the Indian market.
In conclusion, PhonePe’s entry into the app store market is a significant development for the Indian fintech giant.
PhonePe’s app store launch in India is a significant move in the country’s tech industry, especially for a company that has already garnered over 450 million registered users in the country.
The launch aims to offer a localized alternative to Google’s Play Store, with hyper-localized services based on customer context, which can assist developers with “high-quality” user acquisition through multilingual solutions.
The recent order from the Indian antitrust watchdog, the Competition Commission of India, has further aided PhonePe’s entry into the app store market. It remains to be seen how PhonePe’s app store will fare against the dominant Google Play Store, but it is a welcome addition to the Indian tech industry.
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