Days after it was temporarily delisted from the Google Play Store, Paytm on Monday launched its Android Mini App store, which the company said will support products of Indian developers.

The homegrown digital payment services company said over 300 service providers have joined the programme, including Decathlon, Domino’s Pizza, FreshMenu, Netmeds, NoBroker and Ola, and that they would soon make their way to its Mini App Store.

Mini apps or progressive web applications are mobile websites offering an app-like experience without downloading the app. Paytm will provide listing and distribution for mini apps within its own app, free of cost. For payments, developers can offer different payment options such as Paytm Wallet, Paytm Payments Bank, UPI, net banking and cards to their users, it added.

“Paytm Mini App Store empowers young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to build new innovative services. For Paytm users, it will be a seamless experience that doesn’t require any separate download and enables them to use their preferred payment option,” Paytm founder & CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma said.

Gartner’s senior research director Manjunath Bhat said Paytm is different from instant apps and may help Indian start-ups expand their reach. “I view it as yet another experience that app providers can provide to their services. Paytm has the potential to become the equivalent of the super-app, Wechat, in India… PayTM becomes the container to serve these mini apps which are essentially web apps. So, the same web security threats such as Formjacking apply here,” he added.

Speaking to FE, Paytm vice-president Narendra Yadav said, “Mini app store is the experience we gained over years, which we are sharing with developers. We acquired users over many years after spending huge sums. Today, Paytm has around 150 million users visiting it every month. Now, every small developer has access to these users.”

Yadav said Paytm’s digital infrastructure will enable small developers to set up low-cost, quick-to-build mini-apps using HTML and JavaScript technologies. It provides Paytm wallet, Paytm Payments Bank account and UPI at zero charges and levies a 2% charge for other instruments like credit cards.

Asked about plans for a mini-app store for iOS users, he said, “Currently, we targeted Android as 98% of smartphone users are here. We are giving it a thought.”

Yadav further said Paytm is in discussions with hundreds of developers. “We opened the app today. We are getting hundreds of queries from app developers. In the next few days, we expect thousands to join us.”

“Right now the metric we will use to find how successful we are will be on the number of developers that come on the store. As we go ahead, we will incorporate suggestions from developers,” Yadav said.

On creating a full-fledged app store, he said, “The journey from mini-app store to the app store is not direct. We are not looking at that part now.”

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Google Play, India, Paytm, App store, Android

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