Indian digital payments app giant, Paytm is sending out a press release saying that it has launched a Mini App Store for Indian developers. It comes a few days after tech entrepreneurs in India rallied for a national app store. In reality, the new ‘App Store’ isn’t an app store. Paytm is just hosting links to progressive Web apps (PWAs). For reference, these are light apps that can run within a Web browser without requiring any installation.
As per the press release, the Mini App store is designed to help small developers and businesses in India to set up low-cost and easy-to-build apps. The company is associating its latest development to the “Atmanirbhar Bharat mission”, which has been the trending buzz word in the Indian app ecosystem since the TikTok ban.
Paytm says this app store has been running in beta with “select users”. Further, it goes on to say that it witnessed over 12 million visits in the month of September. I’m not a beta tester for the Paytm app and this ‘Mini App Store’ has been active for a couple of months now. You can go to the “Discover” section in the Paytm app to browse the PWAs. It looks like the company has just announced its Mini App Store to ride on nationalism sentiments in the country.
It all comes after Google removed Paytm from its Play Store for a short while. Although, within a few hours it was restored. However, Paytm published a blog post accusing Google of “making policies which are over and above the laws” in India and implementing them “arbitrarily.” Google replied with another blog post to bust Paytm’s claim saying online casinos or unregulated gambling apps that facilitate betting on sports are not allowed on the platform. Still, according to Paytm, Google “enormous control over which apps you download through its Play Store policies.”
Recently, Google also announced that it would enforce its 30 percent fee for apps that are on Google Play but are not using its billing system. This development led Indian app developers and entrepreneurs to demand a national app store alternative to Google Play. Now, Paytm aims to counter the Play Store with its Mini App Store that isn’t even a real app store.