App developers and entrepreneurs in India have started demanding a national app store alternative to Google Play, which has so far dominated the app ecosystem in the country. The call for an alternative started shortly after Google announced a 30 percent fee for the apps that are there on Google Play but are not using Google's billing system. The latest move comes just less than a couple of weeks after Google briefly pulled mobile wallet app Paytm from the Play store for violating the platform's rules for content. Google has reportedly also called out Zomato and Swiggy for the same reason as Paytm.
Paytm co-founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma is leading a team of app developers and entrepreneurs to bring an Indian alternative to Google Play.
The move to build an alternative to Google Play decided after Google announced that it would enforce the existing rule of taking a 30 percent cut from in-app purchases made via the Play store for all listed apps. The company mentioned in a blog post released earlier this week that nearly 97 percent of app developers already use Google Play's billing system.
“India needs a local app store long term else 30 percent tax will eat up most businesses, is anyone trying to build one?” tweeted Harshil Mathur, CEO of payments gateway RazorPay.
Nonetheless, the decision to bring an Indian app store alternative to Google Play is not just limited to help app developers retain their revenues from in-app purchases. It is also to get an independent platform specifically to support local apps, Vishal Gondal, founder of healthcare platform GOQii, told Gadgets 360 over the phone.
In addition to the initial model sketched by the entrepreneurs' team led by Sharma of Paytm, the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has sought a meeting with its member startup founders to understand and resolve their concerns around Google Play and the app ecosystem in the country.