Indian fintech platform PhonePe, backed by Walmart, is preparing to launch its own app store for Android users in India. The move will make PhonePe the latest entrant in the crowded Indian app store market, which is dominated by Google’s Play Store. The company’s new store is designed to offer hyper-localized services based on customer context, and will be tailored to help developers with high-quality user acquisition through multilingual solutions.
The app store will also aim to strengthen PhonePe’s engagement with smartphone vendors, including Xiaomi, according to an insider familiar with the matter. The new platform will offer a “premiere experience” for millions of users, with high-quality ads and custom targeting, support for 12 languages, and 24/7 live chat.
PhonePe’s app store is still several weeks away from launch, but the firm is already in discussions with a number of phone makers in India, with one of the largest already signed up. The company is also hoping to get other OEMs onboard in the next few months.
The move into the app store market comes after PhonePe’s recent acquisition of IndusOS, an app store maker that served customers through partnerships with smartphone vendors. The timing is also favorable, with the Indian antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India recently paving the way for other developers to build and launch their app stores on Google Play.
PhonePe has amassed over 450 million registered users in India and competes aggressively with Google’s Google Pay app. The company sees an opportunity to build an alternative app store that is more localized, not just from a language perspective, but also from a discovery and consumer interest perspective.
This latest product push from PhonePe follows the company’s recent entry into the e-commerce category. The startup separated from its parent firm Flipkart last year and has continued to expand its offerings to capture a larger share of India’s fast-growing digital economy.