The app store will help developers acquire users through multilingual solutions
The move comes months after PhonePe completed the acquisition of app store maker Indus OS
This is PhonePe’s second venture outside fintech, having launched the ONDC-powered ecommerce app Pincode
The app store will offer hyper-localised services based on customers’ preferred language and search history. It will also help developers acquire users through multilingual solutions.
The move comes a year after PhonePe completed the acquisition of app store maker Indus OS last April after a drawn-out legal tussle with Affle. Similar to Indus OS, the fintech decacorn will reportedly look to strengthen its partnerships with smartphone vendors via the app store.
The development was first reported by TechCrunch.
In a statement to Inc42, a PhonePe spokesperson said, “In the Indian context today, we have one of the largest consumer bases in the world. We want to build an alternate app store that is more localised not just from a language perspective but also from a discovery and consumer interest perspective.”
Without revealing any timelines for when the app store will be launched, the spokesperson added, “The current focus is to build out a great app store. Much like the PhonePe app or the recently launched Pincode App, we generally do a lot of internal and beta testing, we don’t rush into a launch.”
The fintech decacorn also added that the timing is favourable since Google is embroiled in an extended tussle with India’s antitrust watchdog Competition Commission of India (CCI). Last year, the CCI imposed a hefty penalty on Google, along with an order that would enable other developers to build their app stores outside of Google.
The fintech startup is said to be in conversation with several phonemakers in India. In light of the CCI’s order, which said that Google can’t engage in the anti-competitive practice of barring other app stores from Android devices, many phonemakers are receptive to PhonePe’s plans.
“We expect to be live on all Android OEMs within the first few months of launch. We have already closed terms with one of the largest OEMs and are trying to get the others rapidly onboard over the next couple of months,” the PhonePe spokesperson added.
Of late, PhonePe has been actively diversifying outside of its core payments business, entering into other fintech categories such as insurance and investment. Recently, it also forayed into ecommerce with the launch of its app on ONDC, Pincode.
The fintech decacorn, which dominates India’s digital payments market, is raising a $1 Bn funding round as it prepares for a listing in India. It has already received funding of $750 Mn.
The startup, which was bought by Flipkart in 2015 before being acquired by Walmart in 2018 as part of the US retailer’s $18 Bn acquisition of the Indian ecommerce giant, is raising the funds at a pre-money valuation of $12 Bn.