New Delhi: Alibaba-backed fintech firm Paytm is planning to challenge Google in the app segment. Paytm is aiming for a million apps on its ‘mini app store’ by the first quarter of 2021. The aim is to challenge the dominance of Alphabet’s Google in India’s mobile web economy.
Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma had called Google ‘judge, jury and executioner’ a few days back. This happened after the app was temporarily removed from the Android app store last month for a policy violation. Sharma kicked off Thursday his company’s ‘Mini App Developer Conference’ by calling Google a ‘toll collector’.
Google’s Android operating system powers nearly 99 per cent of India’s roughly 500 million smartphones. It has faced criticism from several startups in India over a move to enforce its global policy more strictly and charge 30 per cent commission for in-app purchases. That criticism led the US tech giant this week to defer by six months its deadline for Indian companies to comply with the new billing system.
Paytm’s Sharma is trying to use the discontent to attract business to his newly launched mini app store. It is hosted within the Paytm app. He has vowed not charge domestic app developers any fees.
“Neither a company from the East, nor a company from the West. If someone will rule India it will be an Indian company,” Sharma said in the virtual conference.
A mini application is typically hosted within a bigger app. The user experience may not be as seamless as a standalone app. However, it can save app developers the time and money involved in building more complex apps.
Paytm’s mini app store will allow ‘app developers to, for good, forget about going through somebody else’s kingdom or roads,” Sharma was quoted as saying by ‘Reuters’.
Paytm is also backed by Japan’s SoftBank and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The company will create Rs 100 million fund for India’s mini app developers, Sharma informed.
For Google, the face-off against Paytm and other Indian app startups creates a new problem. Google has committed to spend around $10 billion over the next five to seven years through equity investments and tie-ups.
Google also faces four anti-trust cases in India, the latest of which alleges the Mountain View, California-based tech giant abused its Android operating system’s dominant position to garner an unfair advantage in the smart TV market. Google has denied any wrongdoing.
“A number of app stores will have to come in India and co-exist. There’s no other option,” Sharma asserted.