At a time when there is a rapid increase in the way people browse internet on smart devices, UCWeb is looking at India as a great opportunity. The company’s UC Browser is India’s No.1 third-party mobile browser with over 54% market share. UC Browser is available on more than 3,000 different models of mobile devices from over 200 manufacturers and is compatible with all mainstream operating systems.
Kenny Ye, MD, UCWeb India, Alibaba Mobile Business Group speaks with Zia Askari from TelecomDrive.com about the company’s strategy for India and its near term future plans.
What are the key focus areas for the company’s India operations today?
Also, an average user wants to save cost on data browsing and downloading.
Our cloud computing technology is one of our greatest strengths in this area. This allows users to compress data by up to 60%, boosting browsing speed. This is a huge positive for users around the world who use capped data plans, both on their mobiles and desktops.
UCWeb has also launched 9Apps and 9Game – world’s leading third-party app stores for Android apps and games. The stores have 140 million Monthly Active Users (MAUs) and have reached 8.5 million Daily Active Users (DAUs) with over 18 million daily aggregate downloads of apps and games. With a clear focus on newer frontiers, 9Apps focuses on compact and localized apps.
The company appointed cricketer Yuvraj Singh as Product Specialist and Brand Ambassador for UC Browser to reach out to new users and engage with its highly-active user base.
What are the big USPs, localization techniques that have worked for India so far? And what are your future plans to increase engagement here?
In September, UCWeb released its biggest update in over a year to its mobile browser for Android users, UC Browser 10.7. The latest version of UC Browser comes with a customizable homepage with cards-like UI navigation. Following are the key features of UC Browser 10.7
Quick Access Cards The browser allows you to rearrange the cards, which is basically in-app widgets, such as Headlines, Top Sites, Jokes, Cricket Match, Top Free Apps, Opinion, Trending Video, Shopping and much more. Users can also pin cards of their favourite topics on top
Personalisation and Themes Unlike any other mobile browsers in the market, UC Browser 10.7 for Android is the first of its kind to give its users complete freedom to personalize the way they discover and access web content. Users can choose from plenty themes available at Theme Zone in settings or they can choose one from the photo gallery
Faster Browsing Upto 20% faster browsing through cloud acceleration and data compression
Less Data Usage Save on data cost with data compression technology
Local Content Quick and easy navigation to the most popular local news and videos
Download Manager The browser has an advanced integrated download manager. Users can also pause downloads and resume later. There is also an option to choose downloadable sources from the web page
Language Support The browser can support a number of languages including Tamil, Telugu, and Malayalam, in several fonts
Facebook Acceleration Upto 130% faster speed through Facebook page optimization and acceleration
Additional features such as Background Download (Allows the download to continue even after you exit the browser. In case the download is interrupted due to bad network or any other issue, it resumes automatically once the network is restored) Auto Pager Developed (To give a seamless browsing experience with web content divided into pages, such that when you reach the end of your current page, Auto Pager will automatically load the next one) and Speed Mode II (By detecting the type of internet connection you have, the device you are using, and what webpage you are browsing, UC Browser fetches the most suitable version of the webpage for you) make UC Browser the No.1 mobile browser in India
We have customised our browser and added features to suit the needs of an Indian user. In regions with low connectivity our data compression feature is of great help. We also have offline video and reading features available for people who are want to save data charge and have sporadic internet connection
We have added local language support for over 10 Indian languages, including Hindi
We have been working closely with Facebook to provide faster access to Facebook than any other player. Our tests show that UC Browser is 30%-65% faster than its competitors in terms of time consumed to load Facebook pages
Please share your growth trajectory and projections for the year ahead, specifically for EMs?
UC Browser is India’s No.1 third-party mobile browser with over 54% market share. As of today, every second page viewed on the mobile in India is generated through UC Browser. It has also become the second-most popular mobile browser in the world with 17.42% market share, according to StatCounter. UC Browser is available on more than 3,000 different models of mobile devices from over 200 manufacturers and is compatible with all mainstream operating systems.
UCWeb has been seeing exciting success in emerging markets, long dominating mobile browser market in China, India and Indonesia, the three most populous emerging markets globally. All these three countries have a total population of 2.8 billion, accounting for over one third of the world’s population.
Our focus is to enhance our user base across the globe. We will continue to focus on localisation of the product, drive deeper content and service integration and add more features that cater to our consumers’ need. We also want to amplify and drive user growth in tier-II & III cities as well.
What is your experience of working in an over-crowded mobile browser market? What are the advantages and disadvantages on this?
UC Browser is unique in many ways. We were the first mobile browser to introduce cloud computing technology back in the year 2004. With more people accessing internet on their mobile phones, we have developed an easy-to-use navigation. Features such as speed mode, background download, download manager and multiple Add-ons distinguish UC Browser from other products in the market.
We have also customised our browser and added features to suit the needs of an Indian user. In regions with low connectivity our data compression feature is of great help. We also have offline video and reading features available for people who are want to save data charge and have sporadic internet connection.
We have been working closely with Facebook to provide faster access to Facebook than any other player. Further, we have teamed up with local content service providers to provide numerous Bollywood movies with copyrights to Indian users. Additionally, users can also check their PNR status directly from UC Browser. We truly believe that the success of a product like ours depends on the user experience. Our existing users are our ambassadors who would either recommend or thrash the product in their review/feedback. Word of mouth has worked very well for us in the past and we intend to continue doing that.
What according to you are some of the big emerging trends in mobile browsing space and the mobile app industry for the year 2016?
India is a mobile-first market. Many first time users are skipping the PC and fixed-internet connections to go online on their mobiles. This is especially the case in lower-tier cities and rural areas. And so, unlike users in developed markets, many Indian users are new in the mobile world without knowing how to discover content, services and apps.
Businesses that make mobile a central part of their strategy will benefit from the opportunity to engage the new constantly-connected consumer.
Users from different countries have different preference when it comes to choosing apps and games. A top app in a country, is not necessary also a top app in another country.
Please share your thoughts on Internet penetration in India – challenges and the road ahead?
Prime Minister Modi has an ambitious and promising target for Digital India. With the launch of the National Digital Literacy Mission and Digital India Campaign, a digital revolution in the country is imminent. Soon, we may have a better percentage of digitally literate people than those traditionally literate, especially if we look at the use of mobile phones as a benchmark.
With an average internet penetration rate of roughly 19%, it is the untapped segment that presents a massive opportunity for any company here. The non-Internet user population is overwhelmingly rural and a high proportion is illiterate and female. Attracting these to use mobile internet will be a big challenge going forward.
We believe that giving people easy access to relevant information could substantially increase the rate of Internet adoption as well as enable people to stay informed about and connected with the world.