India is open to launch its own smartphone app store or to expand an existing one if it receives enough demand from domestic companies for an alternative to Apple and Google platforms.
India is open to launch its own smartphone app store or to extend the existing one if it receives enough demand from domestic companies for an alternative to Apple and Google platforms, a senior government official said Thursday.
The country has some 500 million smartphone users, most of whom use Google’s Android platform, but Indian start-ups have criticised the company for policies that they claim are stifling their growth.
SoftBank-backed Paytm, one of India’s leading payment companies, protested the decision of the U.S. tech giant to remove its application for a few hours last month, citing violations of gambling policies.
Alphabet-owned Google has said this week that it would strictly enforce a policy that will charge a 30 per cent commission on payments made by applications in its Android store.
In response to an earlier media storey, a senior Indian official told Reuters New Delhi that he had received no formal request but was willing to consider creating a mobile a platform where applications could be downloaded.
“Before we open one, we need to know that it’s going to be taken,” said the government official, declining to be named because he’s not authorized to talk to the media.
India already runs a the mobile app store that lists over 1,200 mostly government-backed apps, but also Paytm, and the government might also consider increasing it instead of starting from scratch, the official said.
India’s technology ministry, Google and Apple, did not respond immediately to requests for comments.
Google has already said that less than 3 per cent of app developers in its Play Store has sold digital goods over the past 12 months and almost 97% comply with its payment system policy.
However, several Indian start-up founders are asking for a local app store that does not charge a high service fee.
“It’s absolutely necessary to have a local app store,” said co-founder of Bengaluru-based gaming firm nCore Games.