Google Defers Play Store Billing Policy Till April 2022 In India After Pushback
The icon for Google LLC’s Play Store application is displayed on a smartphone. (Photographer:Justin Chin/Bloomberg)

Google Defers Play Store Billing Policy Till April 2022 In India After Pushback

Google has deferred its new policy to charge fee for in-app payments in certain categories in India, days after local startup founders forged a collective to express concerns over the technology giant's dominance and to explore alternatives.

Google last week said it will start charging newer categories of online services like education, health and dating a 30% fee for payments made within its app system. According to a statement on Monday, the Alphabet Inc.-owned company is going live globally with the new Play Store rule starting Sept. 2021, while it has delayed enforcement of the billing policy in India.

“We’re also extending the time for developers in India to integrate with the Play billing system to ensure they have enough time to implement UPI for subscription payment option that will be made available on Google Play," Purnima Kochikar, director of business development of games and apps at Google Play, said in a statement on Monday. "For all apps that currently use an alternative payment system, we set a timeline of 31st March 2022.”

Google has been in the spotlight over the last one month as several founders in India expressed concerns with the way it has enforced policies in India. The matter escalated after Google temporarily pulled Paytm's mobile app from the Play store for violating its gambling policies.

“We are setting up listening sessions with leading Indian startups to understand their concerns more deeply,” Google's statement said. It will also set up workshops to take questions about their Play Store policies.

Paytm Offers Mini App Store

Paytm, meanwhile, announced its own mini-app store too featuring several popular services including ride-hailing firm Ola, fitness startup Cure.fit, music-streaming service Gaana, healthcare providers 1mg and Practo, Zoomcar, Booking.com, and others.

Mini apps give users an app-like experience without having to download them, and can be built using HTML and JavaScript technologies.

More than 300 firms have signed up for its mini store, which has been running in beta with select users and has already witnessed over 12 million visits in September, Alibaba-backed Paytm said in a blogpost. The company said it will not charge any commission to developers for using Paytm wallet, Paytm Payments Bank account and UPI, but will levy a 2% charge on other payment instruments such as credit cards.

“I am proud that we are today launching something that creates an opportunity for every Indian app developer," Vijay Shekhar Sharma, chief executive of Paytm, said in a statement. "Paytm mini app store empowers our young Indian developers to leverage our reach and payments to build new innovative services."

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