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Google Play spend up 70%, India key contributor

Business Standard:  January 30, 2017

Bangaluru: Google has seen its Play Store business grow 70 per cent over the last year from international markets. India, one of the largest Android markets in the world, has emerged a key contributor.

Over the past year, the internet giant has stepped up its efforts on Play, introducing paid apps at prices as low as Rs 10, allowing users to purchase prepaid cards sold offline to buy apps on smartphones as it looks on ways to overcome India’s low penetration in credit cards. 

It has also increased the range of paid content online, including movies, books and games, to get users to consume these for a fee.  

“Play had a great quarter, with continued growth in our top markets, as well as in emerging markets where user spending grew 70 per cent year-on-year in India, Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia,” global chief executive Sundar Pichai told analysts after the company’s fourth quarter results. He did not disclose specific numbers.

Early this month, Google signed up Airtel and Vodafone, this country's two largest mobile carriers, for allowing users to pay for purchase of books, music, video and games on Play, getting it access to a little over 450 million subscribers. 

Google’s Android platform runs on nine of 10 smartphones sold in this country, among the world’s largest markets here, at 300-plus million users. 

Google also integrated its play store in e-wallets such as Paytm and FreeCharge, allowing users to pay for apps through the respective platforms.  

Pichai, who has pushed for better internet access by partnering with Indian Railways to offer high-speed internet, has backed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push towards a less-cash system.

“We at Google want to focus on usage of Internet in rural areas in India. We are big supporters of the Digital India programme. We are also working on digitising payments,” said Pichai at an event earlier this month.

However, it’s unlikely that Google will integrate any third-party wallets into its own store. Globally, the company has Android Pay, its own digital wallet where users can add credit/debit cards and authenticate payments on their smartphones. Google has not indicated if it would bring Android Pay to India anytime soon.

Growing importance

  • India is a key player in emerging markets as well as in Mexico, Turkey and Saudi Arabia
  • Google hosts paid apps for as less as Rs 10 on Play Store
  • India has about 300 million smartphone users
  • Google Play Store is integrated with wallets such as Paytm and FreeCharge
  • Google has signed up carrier billing with Airtel and Vodafone in India

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.