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BW Businessworld

'We Wish To Bring Mobile Internet To More People In Low Tier Cities'

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Launched as a Java application in 2004, UCWeb (mobile internet browser) now has more than 500 million users in over 150 countries.  It is available on over 3,000 different models of mobile devices from over 200 manufacturers. Also, it is available in 11 languages including English, Russian, Indonesian, and Vietnamese. Kenny Ye, General Manager & Director International Business Development, UCWeb India, is responsible for the company’s growth in India. He spoke to BW|Businessworld about the technology and safety when it comes to banking and money transactions.

How different is UC Browser from others?
UC Browser was the first mobile browser to introduce cloud computing technology back in the year 2004. With more people accessing Internet on their mobile phones for the first time, we have developed a very easy navigation and home page which is a unique initiative for any browser. Unique features like speed mode, background download, download manager and multiple Add-ons distinguish UC Browser from other products in the market.

We have also pioneered to give to users a fast browsing speed on social networks and currently our Android Browser loads Facebook faster than any other mobile browser. As I mentioned before, 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 can not provide.

What are UC Browser's advantages? Why should one have it on his/her mobile?
UC Browser is a mobile browser developed by UCWeb Inc. with features meticulously curated for faster mobile Internet experience. The browser, which is available in 11 languages in more than 150 countries and across all major mobile platforms, currently serves more than 500 million users around the globe. With over 34 per cent market share according to StatCounter, UC Browser is the most popular mobile browser in India.

Its features includes fast browsing, localized content and services, smart downloading (it supports multi-task, background, and cloud downloading with auto reconnection), customised UI, speed dial, incognito browsing and speed mode among others. UC Browser also features a unique Add-on Platform where you can find various add-ons that enhance and personalise your browsing experience.

UC Browser for India is completely customised keeping the unique needs of Indian users in mind. There are a lot of features which are a boon for the Indian users, considering certain limitations with respect to the connectivity and data plans. In places where connectivity is low, the data compression feature of UC Browser  is extremely useful. Here, the websites which otherwise would take a lot of time to load, opens quickly. This in turn also increases the download speed.  People who are commuting  daily can stock videos/ news articles at their homes or workplaces, and can watch them offline during their commute journeys even with limited networks.

We also provide localised content and services to Indian users to help them keep up with the trend. For instance, during IPL 2014 and FIFA World Cup 2014, users are able to quickly and conveniently access the most comprehensive cricket and football content on UC Browser, including live scores, previews, commentaries, news, interviews, stats, photos, videos and more. More of such exclusive content would be added to the Browser in the future as well, keeping in mind the requirements of the Indian audiences.

What technology platform is the UC Browser built on?
UC Browser is optimized to give you the best and the fastest mobile Internet experience and our data compression technology plays a big role in enabling that. We are the pioneers of data compression technology and compress data by as much as 85 per cent or more to help users save on data usage and costs while accessing the internet. Since 2006, UC Browser has been leveraging our core technology to improve data compression and image rendering.

How safe is your web browser for banking and money transactions?
In May 2013, UC announced a new partnership with global internet security expert, Trend Micro. Under the agreement, both companies work to provide mobile web safety assessments in the browser. The aim is to provide a comprehensive safety net for users of the product via cloud based security scans in the browser and also for Android apps downloaded via UC Browser.  Through this partnership, UC Browser will have access to the world's largest block list of malicious websites  with access to Trend Micro's 50,000 servers across the world. With these measures, it is extremely safe to use UC Browser to browse and perform banking and financial transactions online.

What is your marketing strategy?
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 feedback and reviews. Word of mouth has worked very well for us in the past and we intend to continue doing that.

Are you planning to come up with the Mobile OS?
Currently, we don't have any plans regarding Mobile OS.

Recently, you optimised FB which led to reduce loading time and optimising performance. Are you planning to do the same with other social media websites also?
We always try our best to bring users a fast and all-in-one browsing experience. Our tests show that UC Browser is 30%-65% faster than its competitors in terms of time consumed to load Facebook pages. We will monitor user reactions on every update of UC Browser and decide the plan for the next update. Actually, there are lots of features and UI designs on UC Browser created based on users' feedback. The Background Download feature is just one example. So far, the reaction has been very positive.

What are your future plans?
Our success and adoption rate in India has been quick and very encouraging so far. Going forward, we will continue to focus on bringing the best mobile Internet experience to Indian users through the fastest browsing and downloading speeds as well as rich local content and services. We also wish to bring mobile Internet to more people in low tier cities. We will strive to maintain our leadership position in this market as we look to go in-depth and drive the conversion of feature phone users to smartphone users.