The digital payments company Paytm has launched a mini app store in order to support Indian app developers and entrepreneurs. It has now become a direct competitor to the Google play store and its dominance in the market. Paytm has come up with Mini app store, following the temporary ban it faced from Google Play store on 18thSeptember for violating the developer guidelines on real money gaming.
Phonepe which is Paytm rival, had launched its own in app platform in June 2018, which was later rebranded as PhonePe Switch in October 2019. Instead of giving local apps and developers, Paytm is hosting links to Progressive Web Pages (PWAs) which are light apps that can run within a web browser without requiring any installation.
The Listed Apps on Paytm mini app store
More than 300 apps, including Decathlon, Ola, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, Domino’s Pizza, Fresh Menu, NoBroker have joined the Paytm app store. The startup founders such as Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma and Razorpay’s Harshil Mathur, along with 50 other founders discussed on the possibility of building an Indian app store to challenge Google.
Paytm said that the Mini app store has been in its beta testing phase with select users in the country for some time and has seen over 12 Million visits in the month of September. It also has apps like AQI monitor, EMI calculator, Mojo Pizza, Horoscope, Speedtest and Unit converter. While more apps are expected to join soon.
Google enforcing 30% in app fees in India
The companies move indicates a fallout from google as it is mandatory for the developers listed on its Play Store to use its billing service. Google charges a 30% commission on any transaction made for a digital product or service through its in app billing system. Paytm aims to help developers in reaching out their products to the masses.
These apps open within a window inside the Paytm app itself and the listing will also be free. It will also provide developers with free payment avenues including Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank and UPI. However it should be noted that a 2% extra charge is levied for payments that use credit cards. Paytm is also providing the developers with a dashboard for analytics, payment collection and various marketing tools to better engage with users.
Accessibility to Mini App store
To access the Mini App Store, open your Paytm app. On the home page, click on Show More > Mini App Store from the pop-up menu. The portal allows direct access to users to explore, use, and make payments through the apps, without any additional downloads or installs.
Indian App makers want an alternatives to Google Play
When Google had recently accounted that it would enforce its 30% fee for apps, the Indian app developers and entrepreneurs to demand for a national app store alternatives to google play. Google play store then pushed back the 30% commission in India until March 31, 2022. The tech giant says that the delay has been so the Indian developers have enough time to implement the UPI for subscription option that will be made available on Google play.
When asked about the issue Vishwas Patel, The Chairman of Payments Council of India and a member of IAMAI said that, “Just because Google owns the gate and the gateway to the digital ecosystem of this country they should not act arbitrarily and enforce their rules and regulation that are contrary to our country laws”.
Google stand in courts is that is does not need RBI authorization as it is not a payment system operator but now it is mandatory that Indian apps use only Google proprietary billing and payments systems. “Google should not exercise its dominant position rather allow a level playing field for everyone” he added.
The Indian developers plan to lobby the government and come up with an alternative to Google. The business channel ET now also reported that 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 platform. On twitter, Razorpay founder Harshil Mathur added that, India needs a local app store long-term, as it will otherwise eat up most businesses and asked if anyone trying to build one.
On 29thSeptember google said that, “Play distributed apps must use Google Play billing and as the method of payment if they require or accept payment for access to features or services, including any app functionality, digital content or goods. This applies only to apps and has been purportedly done to prevent revenue leakages to Google Play from January 2021.”
The government is reportedly planning to make the Mobile Seva app store mandatory on all smartphones. Paytm recently listed on the store, which mostly has Government apps. In the absence of any legal means, the government will have its work cut out for making a viable alternative to Google and Apple, experts said.