Can Paytm Mini App Store Shake The Ground For Google in India?

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Not every day we get a chnace to witness that an Indian unicorn challenging one of the Big Tech companies in its home-turf.

Surprisingly, such is the case for PayTM which, if not seeks to overthrow Google’s Play store, definitely wants to relax its grip on Indian app ecosystem!

The Indian Payments’ giant recently launched its very own ‘mini-app store’ which aims to help developers share their apps across the masses with fewer hassles involved.

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This is quite a surprising move considering Google Play Store is doing phenomenally well in India and controls almost 98% of the app install base in India.

Let’s take a deep dive to understand what made Paytm to decided to take the bull by its horns.

Well, it all started in the previous month when Google Play Store, out of the blue, banned the Paytm app for allegedly violating their gambling policies. Paytm had recently launched a new cashback sticker feature which Google didn’t seem to approve of and categorized under ‘gambling’.

The Alphabet-owned giant released a blog post on the same day how their Play store ‘won’t be allowing online casinos or support any unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting’.

Two days later, PayTM, which is in direct competition with Google Pay, called out this act as ‘arm-twisting’ as they weren’t allowed to clarify the feature they added. Vijay Shekhar Sharma, CEO of Paytm, which seems to be itched by Google’s decision to ban Paytm briefly, was quick to coin the idea of Atmanirbhar app store.

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Now, following up on the same, it looks like PayTM is all set to break the monopoly of Google when it comes to the distribution of Android applications.

Currently, all the mini-apps which signed up for Paytm’s newly launched service are being listed and distributed from within their parent payments app itself. Developers are not being charged any fee for this service.

What are ‘mini-apps’?

Mini apps are robust website forms of native mobile apps. It gives users the same app-like experience without requiring them actually to download the apps as one does traditionally.

As of now, it has been reported that over 300 such apps including Decathalon, Ola, Rapido, Netmeds, 1MG, and Domino’s Pizza have chosen to get themselves listed with Paytm’s service.

In the previous week, the Internet and Mobile Association of India aka IAMAI, which is an industry body for startups and Internet companies, both domestic and global, gathered together for a founders’ meeting.

In the meeting, founders of many leading startups such as PhonePe, RazorPay, Dream 11, Sharechat evaluated various options which could be explored to democratize Google Play’s powerful monopoly over its Play Store policies.

And finally, today with the launch of the mini-app store by Paytm, it seems a probable solution has been reached.

Can PayTM’s Mini-App Store Take On Google Play Store?

PayTM’s initiative to democratize Google Play’s monopoly, albeit being a positive step towards building a more flexible app store, is not enough to engulf the giant’s worldwide footprint.

As of March 2020, Google Play Store boasts of 4610,000 apps which has an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It comes pre-installed with the Android OS, and thus it wouldn’t be possible for PayTM’s app store to take on Google Play store worldwide.

That being said, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same can’t happen in India, which is PayTM’s home turf.

PayTM’s mini-app store has been built keeping the needs of small developers and businesses in mind. Mini-apps have very low set up costs, and they can be built quickly using only HTML and Javascript. Thus, looking at these advantages, a majority of app developers might choose not to list their apps on Google Play store but on the mini-app store.

Currently, Paytm is providing payment options to developers via options such as Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank, and UPI at zero charges along with levying a standard rate of 2 per cent charge for using credit cards and other instruments.

According to PayTM’s statement on Sunday, their app store, which has been running on beta with some select apps only, has already witnessed over 12 million visits as of September.

Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Co-founder and CEO of PayTM, mentioned that the company has introduced the app store to specifically empower the young Indian developers who wish to build innovative services.

Now, it remains to be seen how does Google react to the same as for any app store to succeed in India it’s important to have blessings from Google. In the past, we have seen how various tech behemoths including Samsung, Microsoft or even Chinese tech major Huawei tried to do something similar but failed measurably. Be it the absence of seamless integration with Google services or failing to replicate security measures that Google Play Store ensures to users, all attempt to challenge Google Play Store failed to create traction.

Do you think Indian consumers will opt-in for using alternative app stores outside of Play Store? Do let us know in the comments down below. We will keep you updated with all future developments. Until then, stay tuned.

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