PhonePe's App Store Guns For Google's Lunch Money As It Lobbies To Come Pre-Installed On Some Android Devices

Digital payments platform PhonePe is reportedly in advanced discussions with two large smartphone manufacturers to pre-install its Indus Appstore on their devices to counter the widespread influence of the Google Play app store.

What Happened: This strategic move aims to help the homegrown alternative to Google’s app store reach 15 crore users by the end of the year, a top executive told the Economic Times.

Akash Dongre, co-founder of Indus Appstore, said it has already entered into strategic original equipment manufacturer partnerships with Nokia and Lava. The company is also in advanced discussions with several other major smartphone manufacturers to further expand its reach, he added.

Dongre emphasised that the strategy was to rival Google’s scale through deep partnerships with the developer ecosystem, transparent policies, fair commissions and local support.

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The Indus app store has been downloaded 20 lakh times since its launch, with significant traction from tier 2 cities, which account for 45% of its user base. Dongre noted that there are over 2.5 lakh apps on the platform, covering popular categories such as finance, games, social media, entertainment and shopping.

Amid increasing disputes between Google and app developers over billing policies and commissions, PhonePe launched its own Android-based mobile app store earlier this year. The platform has onboarded apps from Blinkit, Zepto, MakeMyTrip, Paytm and major gaming companies like Dream11, Nazara Technologies, A23, MPL, Junglee Rummy, Taj Rummy, Rummy Passion, RummyCulture, RummyTime and CardBaazi.

Indus is offering zero listing fees for the first year and zero platform fees for in-app transactions, allowing developers to integrate any payment gateway instead of paying up to 30% commission charges imposed by global app stores, Dongre highlighted.

The Appstore is available in 12 Indian languages and includes features like voice and regional search. Dongre pointed out that features such as video-led discovery transform the platform into not just a distribution channel but also a consumer engagement and marketing platform.

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