Paytm VP Narendra Yadav EXCLUSIVE on Mini App Store, timing of launch, Google’s new payment policy, developers' reception, more
Why is there a need for separate store? Will the payment policies remain the same? Who is Paytm competing against? In this episode of Tech Talks, Narendra Yadav – VP – Paytm, answers all these questions and more.
Paytm on Monday launched its own Android Mini App Store – a move that has led to several arguments and discussions. While some have welcomed the move hoping it can challenge if not end Google’s monopoly in the Android ecosystem, others have their doubts around the timing and future of this new platform. Mini apps are a custom-built mobile website that gives users app-like experience without having to download them. This has led to several questions like – Why is there a need for separate store? Will the payment policies remain the same? Who is Paytm competing against? In this episode of Tech Talks, Narendra Yadav – VP – Paytm, answers all these questions and more.
Need for a Separate Mini App Store
The Mini App Store basically lists platforms at one place, from where users can open their mobile-optimized website versions, without having to download the apps. The company said that this platform will not only benefit developers but also help smartphone users to save their limited data and phone memory.
“It is important to understand how a mini app store works. It’s very difficult for new developers to make an app. Even if they do, they have to acquire users on different platforms. The Mini App Store helps developers to use Paytm’s user base to reach out to more people. The other advantage is while Paytm is allowing free payment process through its services, there is no restriction on the mode of payment. Developers can still use credit cards, bank services for the billing process,” Narendra Yadav told Zee Business, in an exclusive interaction, when asked about the need for a separate platform.
WATCH Tech Talks EP 33 on Paytm Mini App Store:
He added that the problem is all the app developers are dependent on a single player for their reach (Google for Android ecosystem).
“To increase their reach, they are required to spend a lot of money. No matter how big a company is, if another platform is paying more money to Google, it is listed above the rest on Play Store. Then, Google also introduced new payment policies where it is asking platforms to pay 30 per cent share of the fee,” Yadav said.
In this case, either the business becomes unsustainable or the cost is eventually passed on to the customers, he said, while adding that the Paytm Mini App Store gives developers an alternate to expand their user base without having to spend.
Timing of Announcement
Interestingly, Paytm’s announcement of the Mini App Store said that “this app store has been running in beta with select users and witnessed over 12 million visits in the month of September.” This has made several people question the timing of the announcement, which came days after Google announced its new payment policies for the Play Store. The new policy demanded 30 per cent share from all Android makers for in-app purchases.
Defending the move, Yadav said that Paytm had no idea that Google will come up with a new policy.
“When we started working on this project, it was called ‘Mini program’. The idea was developers would use Paytm’s reach to distribute their platforms. Then, a few things happened and we decided to launch it as a Mini App Store. Now, we didn’t know that Google will come up with new payment policies. But, this further shows that there was a need for a platform like this. What happened because of the recent steps by Google, is that it brought Paytm and the Mini App Store in the spotlight,” he said.
Soon after the Mini App Store was announced, Google confirmed that its new payment policy has been deferred for another 12 months till April, 2022. However, Paytm is confident that it will have no impact on its platform as the core offerings remain the same.
“The biggest advantage of the Mini App Store is a ready-made distribution network, which won’t change with Google deferring its payment policies. In fact, it’s announcements like these developers have a problem with. It’s like you earn 100 rupees. Someone says, we will take 30 rupees from that. When you express discontent, they return you the money and say fine keep it, we will take it tomorrow. This idea is disturbing,” he said.
Future of Free Service
For now, Paytm is offering zero charges on all transactions done through Paytm wallet, Paytm Payments Bank account and UPI. While other instruments like credit cards will attract two per cent fee.
Asked if the platform can levy a fee in future, Yadav said, “Business models keep evolving. I can’t tell you how things will be five years from now. One thing is for sure though, even if Paytm levies a fee, the developers will always an option to move to a new mini app store. Right now, the businesses are getting a vast reach at 0 per cent fee. And, what we can confirm is that this is not an introductory offer and we plan to keep it for a long period. That is the intent.”
Focus on Android but iOS in plans
“You can expect a similar platform on iOS as well but, for now Android is more important for us. In fact, for all the Indian developers Android is more important than iOS,” he said, when asked if the offering can be extended to iOS devices as well.
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