Updated February 26th, 2024 at 20:07 IST

PhonePe launches Indus Appstore, to compete with BigTech players

Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw inaugurated the Indian alternative to Google Play

Reported by: Gauri Joshi
PhonePe Indus Appstore Launch
PhonePe Indus Appstore Launch | Image:PhonePe

Homegrown foray: Walmart-backed PhonePe on Wednesday launched the Indus Appstore, an Android appstore touted to compete with American BigTech Google Play.

Launched by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Delhi's Bharat Mandapam, Indus Appstore comes as a localised appstore for the country, which also happens to be the largest mobile apps download market globally.


What makes it different?

The app lets users explore apps in 12 Indian languages. It also follows a short video-led discovery model, where apps can upload trailers for users to land up on apps using bite-sized, video snackable content to drive engagement.

Users will not be required to register through their email address, but rather use their phone number - a first for appstores, PhonePe Founder and CEO Sameer Nigam said. This allows for more personalisation, which is not possible in the case of shared email addresses because phone numbers are exclusive to one person.


App developers will not be required to pay any listing fee for a year, until April 1, 2025.

Amid BigTech app players levying a fee on payments outside of their own payments ecosystem, PhonePe has said it will not charge any commission from app and game developers for choosing an external payments gateway.

The launch is opportune given the Indian startup ecosystem's push for free market competition in the mobile app store space.

It also offers storage management, recommending which apps to put on sleep or delete. This feature, the company said, is not offered by other app stores.

Digital Ecosystem

On the launch, Nigam said, "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 ecosystem. Indus Appstore embodies our commitment to building a truly inclusive digital ecosystem where every Indian user feels at home.”

The Indus Appstore allows for Indian consumers to download over 2 lakh mobile apps and games, across 45 categories. It also comes with a smart optimiser for downloading updates based on how much of it the user has consumed.  



Published February 21st, 2024 at 22:47 IST

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