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Paytm targets a million apps on its mini app store to take on Google

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Alibaba-backed Indian FinTech firm Paytm is aiming to get a million apps onto its own “mini app store” by the first quarter of 2021, it said on Thursday, seeking to challenge the dominance of Google from India’s digital economy.

Paytm founder Vijay Shekhar Sharma called as Google “judge, jury and executioner” after his app has been removed from the Android app shop last month for a policy violation. On Thursday, he kicked off his company’s “Mini App Developer Conference” by calling Google a “toll collector”.

Google, whose Android operating system forces nearly 99 percent of India’s roughly 500 million smartphones, has faced criticism from several start-ups in the country over a movement to enforce its international coverage more strictly and charge a 30% commission for in-app purchases.

That criticism led the US platform giant this week to re-evaluate by six months its deadline for Indian companies to comply with the new billing system.

Paytm’s Sharma is hoping to use the discontent to draw business to his recently established mini app store, which can be hosted inside the Paytm app. He’s vowed not charge nationally app developers any penalties.

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“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 from the digital conference.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A mini application is typically hosted within a larger app and the consumer experience may not be as seamless as a standalone app, but it can save app developers 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 explained.

Paytm, also backed by Japan’s SoftBank and Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, will produce a 100 million rupee (approximately $1.37 million) fund for India’s mini app developers, Sharma added.

For Google, the face-off from Paytm and other Indian app start-ups creates a new problem in among its best growth markets, in which it has committed to invest around $10 billion over the next five to seven years through equity holdings and tie-ups.

Google also faces four antitrust cases in India, the latest of which alleges the Mountain View, California-based tech giant abused its Android functioning system’s dominant position to exude an unfair edge in the intelligent TV market.

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“A number of app stores will have to come in this country and co-exist,” Paytm’s Sharma told journalists at our partner news agency Reuters.

The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed the ‘[post_title]’ article. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Sankalp Phartiyal and Aditya Kalra. Editing by Euan Rocha and Mark Potter.

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