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Paytm launches its own Android Mini App Store

Paytm - Appy Pie

The Digital payments firm Paytm has launched a mini-app store to lure small startups and support Indian developers, to take on Google’s dominance in the space. The launch of the store came after the Paytm app was temporarily removed from Google’s Play Store on September 18 for violating developer guidelines on real-money gaming.

Other apps like Zomato and Swiggy were also not happy with Google’s new guidelines as it led to pausing their sports-based cashback which was popular especially during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020.

Paytm’s Android Mini App Store for Indian developers will be a little different. These mini-apps will not be full-fledged apps but will rather be web apps that are basically websites that act like native apps. Paytm also claims that these mini apps will help users save their data and memory.

Paytm’s In-app payment options are – Paytm Payments Bank, Paytm Wallet, and UPI at a zero percent fee which will provide new software developers an added incentive and motivation.

Paytm said the mini-app store will help developers take their products to the masses and is providing listing and distribution of these mini-apps within its app. Rival PhonePe launched its in-app platform in June 2018 and rebranded it to PhonePe Switch in October 2019.

Paytm founder & CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said, “I am proud that we are today launching something that creates an opportunity for every Indian app developer.” He further added, “Paytm Mini App Store will empower young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to build new innovative services. Moreover, for Paytm users, it will be a great experience that doesn’t require any separate download and enables them to use their preferred payment option.”

The prospective move will be welcomed by many Indian developers. Moreover, it falls under the Atmanirbhar Bharat mission drive as the digital spending of the consumers is in India only.

However, Google levies a 30 percent commission on any transaction made for a digital product or service through its in-app billing system.

Razorpay’s CEO Harshil Mathur tweeted last week, “India needs a local app store long-term, else 30 percent tax will eat up most businesses; is anyone trying to build one?”

Vishwas Patel, founder of CCAvenue and chairman of Payments Council of India and a member of Iamai said in the 29 September note, “Google can’t force Indian developers to use Google billing and charge a commission for it.”

As per reports, the government is planning to ramp up its Mobile Seva app store, which has mostly catered to MSMEs, to act as an alternative to Google and Apple’s platforms. The government of India is likely planning to make the Mobile Seva app store mandatory on all smartphones.

Manjunath Bhat, senior director analyst at Gartner said, “Other app stores have not been able to catch up with Google Play because they lack network effects. Google’s Play Store is mandatory to make use of Google Mobile Services that include other apps such as Google Maps.”

So far, Google enjoyed a monopoly in the Indian app market as most of the smartphone users have Android-powered smartphones. Paytm is holding a developer conference on October 8 to make them understand better how the Google Play Store alternative works. It will be interesting to see how Google reacts to Paytm’s move.