‘In­dia is our sec­ond head­quar­ter and a crit­i­cal mar­ket for us’

Voice&Data - - CONTENT - Kr­ishna Mukher­jee x-kr­ish­nam@cy­ber­me­dia.co.in

Voice&Data: How has been the jour­ney so far in In­dia?

Kenny Ye: Since in­cep­tion in 2004, UCWeb’s mis­sion has been to pro­vide bet­ter mo­bile In­ter­net ex­pe­ri­ence to bil­lions of users. In June 2014, UCWeb fully merged into the Alibaba Group af­ter years of part­ner­ship in the big­gest deal in the history of the Chi­nese In­ter­net in­dus­try.

As of April 2015, UC Browser reached 13.69% mar­ket share world­wide, ac­cord­ing to Stat­Counter, be­com­ing the 4th most pop­u­lar mo­bile browser af­ter Chrome, Sa­fari and An­droid Browser. Un­like the top three mo­bile browsers, UC Browser does not come by de­fault on An­droid or iOS, which means it’s the No.1 third-party mo­bile browser in the world. UC Browser is also the No.1 mo­bile browser in In­dia with 46.7% mar­ket share, as of the end of April 2015, as per Stat­Counter.

In­dia is our sec­ond head­quar­ter and re­mains a crit­i­cal mar­ket for us. We have re­cently an­nounced the ap­point­ment of crick­eter Yu­vraj Singh as a Prod­uct Spe­cial­ist and Brand Am­bas­sador for UC Browser to reach out to new users and en­gage with our highly-ac­tive user base. UC Browser is also the lead­ing mo­bile browser in China with over 65% of the mar­ket share and has wit­nessed strong growth in many other coun­tries.

Voice&Data: How the In­dian mar­ket dif­fers from the other mar­kets? (in terms of con­sumer de­mands, chal­lenges, etc)

Kenny Ye: In­dia’s im­pres­sive growth rate of in­ter­net pen­e­tra­tion cou­pled with large off­line users presents a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity to bring new in­ter­net users on­line. 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. This is starkly dif­fer­ent from the pop­u­la­tion that has em­braced the In­ter­net so far – pre­dom­i­nantly ur­ban, higher in­come and lit­er­ate. Many users in re­mote and ru­ral ar­eas will skip the PC and fixed-in­ter­net con­nec­tions to go on­line on their mo­biles. Chang­ing pric­ing trends in smart-phones mean that more in­tu­itive de­vices will be in­creas­ingly ac­ces­si­ble.

The need of the hour is taming high cost of gen­er­at­ing con­tent, in­creased lo­calised con­tent & ser­vices, in­tu­itive mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions, ser­vices with sim­ple graph­i­cal in­ter­faces, lo­cal lan­guage sup­port and spe­cific mar­ket­ing tools for high-in­ten­sity users.

Voice&Data: Con­sumers th­ese days look for af­ford­able data plans and at the same time want to con­sume max­i­mum data. In that kind of a sce­nario, what type of in­no­va­tions are there on the cards from UCWeb?

Kenny Ye: We al­ways try our best to bring users a fast and all-in-one brows­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. We have been work­ing closely with Face­book and 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. Also, UC Browser users are able to re­ceive real-time FB no­ti­fi­ca­tion on the browser. This is the first time Face­book has teamed up with a mo­bile browser to al­low real-time no­ti­fi­ca­tions out­side of its na­tive app.

In In­dia, we are see­ing m-commerce growth tak­ing place at a fast pace. In­dia is a mo­bile-first mar­ket and most of the in­ter­net pop­u­la­tion ac­cesses it for the first time us­ing their mo­bile phones. This is es­pe­cially the case in lower-tier cities and ru­ral ar­eas. There­fore, the e-commerce mar­ket is ex­pected to get an im­pres­sive growth through mo­bile phones. M-commerce is tak­ing off in In­dia and UCWeb is ac­cel­er­at­ing the growth in this area.

Voice&Data: How are you deal­ing with the prob­lem of in­creased lo­cal­ized con­tent?

Kenny Ye: We have made sig­nif­i­cant lo­cal­i­sa­tion ef­forts to cater to each mar­ket, in­clud­ing syn­er­gis­tic tie-ups that add value to our users. Our suc­cess and adop­tion rate in In­dia has been quick and very en­cour­ag­ing so far.

We also cater to lo­cal user de­mands by pro­vid­ing up-to-date ser­vices. For ex­am­ple, we teamed up with lo­cal con­tent ser­vice providers to pro­vide nu­mer­ous Bol­ly­wood movies with copy­rights to In­dian users. Users can also check their PNR sta­tus di­rectly from UC Browser. That’s some­thing our peers do not pro­vide.

We look to sus­tain our lead­er­ship po­si­tion in In­dia and tar­get greater trac­tion from Tier II & III cities go­ing for­ward. We aim to add more fea­tures to cater to the In­dian cus­tomer bet­ter. Go­ing for­ward, we want to con­tinue fo­cus­ing on lo­cal­i­sa­tion of the prod­uct, drive deeper con­tent and ser­vice in­te­gra­tion and add more fea­tures that cater to our con­sumers’ need.

Voice&Data: What more can we see from UCWeb in the near fu­ture?

Kenny Ye: We have re­cently re­leased the pub­lic beta of our UC Browser for PCs in in­ter­na­tional mar­kets – we are com­mit­ted to con­nect­ing users around the world with the In­ter­net, wher­ever they are and what­ever de­vice they use. It comes in two ver­sions: A Gen­eral Version and an In­dian version which is spe­cially de­signed for In­dia with a pre-loaded UC Cricket add-on where users can ac­cess the lat­est cricket news, scores, etc.

UC Browser for PC is equipped with the im­por­tant fea­tures that its fans on mo­bile have come to love. Cloud Sync, for ex­am­ple, al­lows users to syn­chro­nize open tabs and book­marks from UC Browser for mo­bile, so that they can seam­lessly switch be­tween UC Browser on mo­bile and PC. UC Browser for PC also has high-speed down­loads, with an op­tion to re­sume when down­loads are in­ter­rupted, as well as a smart file man­ager that au­to­mat­i­cally cat­e­go­rizes down­loaded files by type.

Apart from that, UC Browser for PC also comes with a pre-load­ing fea­ture that loads pho­tos and links be­fore­hand so users can open them in­stantly later on for non-stop brows­ing. Add-ons, themes, ad­block, ges­ture sup­port and cus­tom­iz­a­ble speed di­als are also a plus.

Voice&Data: How you man­aged to grab 48% mar­ket share here in In­dia? Please throw some light on your key dif­fer­en­tia­tors.

Kenny Ye: 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-touse 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 cus­tom­ized 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. Some our key fea­tures in­clude:

Back­ground Down­load: It 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.

Smart Down­load man­ager al­lows you to keep an easy track of all the files within the browser.

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.

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.

—Kenny Ye Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, UCWeb Mo­bile

UC Browser, the mo­bile browser from UC Web has 13.69% mar­ket share world­wide, with 46.7% mar­ket share in In­dia as of April 2015, as per Stat­Counter. The com­pany is the first mo­bile browser to work with Face­book for faster ac­cess and push no­ti­fi­ca­tions....

—Kenny Ye Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor, UCWeb Mo­bile

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