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UCWeb India's MD, Mr. Kenny Ye On What Factors Have Driven The Growth Of UCWeb Browser In India
UCWeb's success and adoption rate in India has been quick. As the company looks to sustain its leadership position in India and target greater traction from Tier II & III cities, the management team will be focusing on localisation of product, driving deeper content and service integration and adding more features that cater to our consumers’ need
In this exclusive interview with CrazyEngineers, we got Mr. Kenny Ye, MD, UCWeb India to share his insights on their product, their growth in India, major roadblocks, biggest turning point and a lot more. Read on!
Kenny Ye, MD - UCWeb India
CE: From Zheijan University to being a Product Manager at Huawei to donning the hat of a MD and Director at UCWeb, how has the journey been?
Kenny Ye: India technological landscape is fast evolving and it is an exciting time to be at the forefront of UCWeb’s India journey. But, managing a diverse team has its challenges and thrills. I firmly believe that no leadership model is universal and different styles work well under different situations. It’s all about moving ahead as a team rather than focusing on just your individual goals. My leadership mantra is a simple quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “To handle yourself, use your head; To handle others, use your heart. I follow the same principle in life
CE: What according to you is the best part about your work at UC Web?
Kenny Ye: The biggest challenge I have faced is setting up teams from scratch and leading them in multiple markets with diverse cultural and ethnical backgrounds. Each market being very different, poses unique challenges and barriers to entry for the leaders. I spent time in understanding each market, its uniqueness, and the diversities to win the trust of my subordinates
I have a fair bit of travel to do every month under my current role. I use this opportunity to get a lay of the land, understand the culture, the people and use that experience to provide richer products to our users across the globe.
CE: Which key features in the UC Browser are you the most proud of and why?
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-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
In Sept, 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. The key features of UC Browser 10.7 include - Background Download, Auto Pager, Speed Mode II, Facebook Acceleration, Control Videos with Gestures, Quick Access Cards, Faster Browsing, Less Data Usage, Local Content and an advanced integrated Download Manager.
CE: What has driven the growth for the UC Browser in India? What is its USP?
Kenny Ye: We have seen staggering success in the Indian market over the last few quarters. As of today, 1 of every 2 mobile page viewed in India is accessed via UC Browser. Along with this, UC Browser is now the world's second most popular mobile browser with 18.6% market share, surpassing Safari and Android on page view market share.
Not just that, UC Browser is now the third most used app in India after Facebook and WhatsApp, according to a report released by The Information based on data provided by Quettra. The browser also became part of the 100 million daily active users (DAU) club, becoming one of the few apps to enjoy such high user engagement around the globe.
Apart from providing the best user experience at lowest data cost, we have made significant localisation efforts to cater to each market, including synergistic tie-ups that add value to our users. Even though we enjoy a healthy market share, we continuously strive to reach out to users in newer markets by way of roadshows, city-specific tie-ups, brand promotions and more
CE: Which localisation techniques have worked well for Indian market?
Kenny Ye: Apart from the popular features available globally, UC browser has added the following to suit the needs of an Indian user, propelling us ahead of the curve:
- In regions with low connectivity our data compression feature is of great help. UC Browser also has offline video and reading features available for people who are want to save data charge and have sporadic internet connection.
- UC Browser has added local language support for over 10 Indian languages, including Hindi.
- UC Browser has been working closely with Facebook to provide faster access to Facebook than any other player. 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 Facebook notifications 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.
- UCWeb also customises its browser based on popular events such as cricket and football. For cricket related events, we have launched an all-in-one cricket application “UC-Cricket”. The application provides complete and up-to-date information including ball-by-ball updates, live scores, previews, commentaries, interviews, stats, photos, video and more.
- Further, UCWeb has 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.
CE: What has been the major roadblocks (the toughest challenge) for UC Browser in India as compared to other countries? How did your team tackle it?
Kenny Ye: Being a developing nation, India poses many challenges for global companies eying a share of the pie. Many Indian users are new in the mobile world without knowing how to discover content, services and apps. India’s user profile is concentrated with 80% in the age bracket of 25 years and younger. Most internet users in India continue to be male. Also, users in non-metros face issues of weak connectivity and slow browsing speeds. An average Indian user wants to save cost on data browsing and downloading.
CE: What was the turning point for UC Browser's success in India?
Kenny Ye: Our success and early adoption gave us the confidence to launch 9Apps and 9Game –leading third-party app stores for Android apps and games. Today, 9Apps is one of the most popular Android marketplaces globally with a huge audience base as well as an abundant and varied app repository for 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 localised apps. We have also ventured into India’s mobile gaming scene with the launch of the mobile UC Crazy Run.
CE: Among the emerging trends in mobile browsing space, what according to you is the hottest one and which one do you think is here to last?
Kenny Ye: Till very recently, the mobile browsing experience was mimicking the desktop one with minute changes. That is fast changing. With so much data available and so many past browsing habits to draw from, browsers will come up with customised search results with integrated add-on service options.
Since India is a mobile-first market, businesses that make mobile a central part of their strategy will benefit from the opportunity to engage the new constantly-connected consumer
CE: What will be your message to your readers?
Kenny Ye: UC Browser has always been able to adapt the ever-changing mobile environment since feature phone era, and it has been evolving constantly throughout the years. By providing a one-stop browsing gateway, UC Browser makes mobile services conveniently accessible, helping improve and reshape the mobile lifestyle of our users worldwide. We will continue to reach new users through unique localisation and personalisation efforts.