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After flip-flop, Google allows Indian developers to sell paid apps on Google Play Store

Search giant Google has officially added India to the list of countries from where developers can register as Google Checkout merchants (finally). It essentially means Indian developers will now be able to sell paid apps via Google Play Store. Earlier, Indian developers had to open accounts in countries that supported this service in order to sell Android apps.

Only last month, (Sept 24, 2012, to be precise), the company had added India’s name to the list by ‘mistake’ and then did a quick turnaround and removed it the very next day.

Things have now changed, though. “Starting today, developers in India can sell paid applications, in-app products and subscriptions in Google Play, with monthly payouts to their local bank accounts. They can take advantage of all of the tools offered by Google Play to monetise their products, and they can target their products to the paid ecosystem of users in India and across the world,” wrote Ibrahim Elbouchikhi, product manager of the Google Play team, in an official Android developers’ blog post.

The company has also mentioned that over the past year, Android device activations in India have jumped more than 400 per cent and in the last six months, Android users in the country have downloaded more apps than they did in the previous three years combined. Due to this, India has now become the fourth-largest market worldwide for app downloads. So in a sense, it was only a matter of time before the company launched Google Play seller support in India.

Setting up

Before they can publish software on Google Play, developers must do three things. One will have to create a developer’s profile (you can do that here), say ‘yes’ to the developer distribution agreement and pay a registration fee of $25 with credit/debit card (using Google Checkout).

Once done, an Android developer from India can sign in to his/her ‘developer console’ and set up a Google Checkout merchant account. If one’s apps are already published as free, one can still monetise those by adding in-app products or subscriptions. New apps can be published as paid ones, in addition to selling in-app products or subscriptions.

Rupee support

After developing apps and in-app products, developers can price those (in any available currency), publish them and receive payouts in their local currency. Note that along with seller support, Google has also added buyer’s currency support for India, which means that developers can visit their developer console and set prices for their products in INR and all other new currencies listed (like Russian rouble). As of now, the price range for apps has been fixed at Rs 50-Rs 10,000.

Payouts and taxes

For those who don’t already know, Google follows a 30:70 model – it takes 30 per cent of the total app price as transaction fee while developers get the rest. If an app sells digital goods (like in-game purchases) or subscriptions, the company takes 30 per cent of that amount as well.

For successfully processed orders, Google sends payments to a developer’s account within two business days. However, the actual payout for the developer’s Google Checkout account is initiated only once a month. Once the payment is disbursed to the bank account verified by a developer, the bank will make it available as per its policies.

Note that while Google supports tax-inclusive pricing in a number of countries, India is not one of those. It means Indian developers will be responsible for determining the applicable tax rate (for the sale of their apps) in all jurisdictions where their apps are sold and for remitting those taxes to the appropriate tax authorities.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

2 Comments

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Chandima October 19, 2012 20:40

I’m a Sri Lankan and was eagerly looking forward for paid application support in country. It’s nice to hear that now Indian developers get the ability to publish paid applications. Hope, the feature will be supported in Sri Lanka as well very soon.

HRJ October 19, 2012 23:44

Thanks for the in depth article and for covering the gotchas like taxation. Many indie developers, like I, don’t have knowledge of international tax laws, so please give more details on that.

I have a few questions:

1. If Google is paying in INR to Indian developers, why are they asking for SWIFT code in the bank details? From what I understand after speaking with a CA, the SWIFT code is only required if I am expecting currency other than INR.

2. If Google is deducting 30% from the sale, the money would be coming to them first, which means they they are the ones who would be selling to the end-user, right? Wouldn’t they have to pay the taxes for the sale? The developer would be selling to Google only at 70% rate, and only to Google India branch; so he would have to pay only local taxes?

3. If the developer is not selling the app to Google India, then to which branch of Google is he selling to? If the developer has to sell to a branch of Google that is outside of India, does he need an export license?

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