Google has pulled paytm, the app of indias most valuable start-up, from its play store on friday, after a cricket promotion breached its gambling policies. paytm, a payments platform that is indias answer to paypal, is valued at $16bn and is backed by alibabas payments arm ant group and softbank, but has struggled to translate its large user base into ablog poston friday, google reiterated its gambling policy, saying it did not allow unregulated gambling apps that facilitate sports betting.
This includes when an app leads customers to an external website that allows them to participate in paid tournaments to win real money or cash prizes.
Google said paytm had violated this policy.
In a statement on twitter, paytm said: we continue to work with google to restore our android app. we assure all our users that their balances and linked accounts are 100% safe.a paytm spokesperson said google took issue with a promotion linked to cricket where users could claim a cashback, or money.
Cashbacks and steep discounts are a common but controversial strategy in india, where companies including walmart-owned flipkart and amazon have been accused of predatory pricing as they aggressively expand into the country of 1.4bn people. paytm said it was working to remove the cricket promotion, which was launched to coincide with the start of season, and that the app was expected to be restored soon.google sent us an email this morning and unilaterally without negotiation took us off the app store, the paytm spokesperson said. its an absolute arm twister with no respite.the spokesperson added: this is a wake-up call for countries that are building technology dreams on a foundation that is owned and controlled by someone else.
Googles action comes one day before the indian premier league is set to start in the united arab emirates on saturday and after paytm first games, its fantasy sports app, recently signed star batsman sachin tendulkar as brand ambassador to take on rival gaming unicorn dream11 and other competitors. the appointment of mr tendulkar last week attracted criticism from the confederation of all india traders, a merchants association, which called on the sports legend to end his partnership with the chinese-funded company because india was undergoing a face-off with china.
Tension has flared between historic rivals india and china after a bloody border clash in june that led to new delhi banning more than 150 chinese apps, including tiktok.