Indian startup PhonePe is set to enter the app store market in India, with a dedicated store for Android users. The app store will offer hyper-localized services according to the customer's situation and help the developers in getting high quality users through multilingual solutions. The new platform aims to provide a "first experience" to millions of users, with high-quality and targeted ads, support for 12 languages, and 24x7 live chat.
PhonePe is India's most valuable fintech startup and a strong competitor to Google Pay in India. According to internal company documents reviewed by TechCrunch, the app store is intended to help PhonePe strengthen its relationship with smartphone vendors, including Xiaomi.
The move into the app store market follows PhonePe's acquisition of IndusOS, an app store developer that serves consumers by partnering with mobile phone vendors. PhonePe has long focused on building app stores, and has offered a mini app store within its app for years.
PhonePe confirmed that it has held several conversations with Indian mobile operators and said that all are very receptive, especially as the Competition Commission of India clarified that Google cannot engage in anti-competitive practices. The company also sees good opportunities, thanks to the recent order from the antitrust regulator in India that opened the way for other developers to set up and build their own stores on Google Play.
PhonePe, which this year received USD 750 million in funding from sources like General Atlantic, Walmart, and Tiger Global, intends to provide an alternative to the Google Play Store, which has 97 percent of the Indian app store market. The company sees an opportunity to build an app store that is "more localized not only from a language perspective but also from a search and customer interest perspective."
The app store is still a few weeks away, but PhonePe is already in talks with several Indian phone makers, with one of the biggest already signed up. The company also expects to add more OEMs in the coming months.
This latest product push by PhonePe follows the company's recent foray into the e-commerce segment. The startup spun off from parent company Flipkart last year and expanded its offerings to gain a bigger share of India's fast-growing digital economy. With over 450 million registered users in India, PhonePe is well positioned to compete in the app store market and provide a more localized platform for developers to reach their target audience.
Also Read: PhonePe raises 100 million dollars in additional funding at a 12 billion dollars valuation