Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in Kaylene Hong was Asia Reporter for The Next Web between 2013 and 2014, based in Singapore. She is bilingual in English and Mandarin. Stay in touch via Twitter or Google+.
Popular Chinese-made mobile browser UC Browser, which is owned by UCWeb, has become India’s top mobile browser after it recently surpassed the incumbent leader Opera.
Buoyed by strong adoption in India, UC Browser passed a new milestone of 400 million global users late last year. This momentum is continuing with latest statistics from StatCounter showing that the market share of UC Browser in India increased from 21.7 percent in July 2012 to nearly 30 percent in July 2013, UCWeb says.
From December 2012 to June 2013, the number of active users of UC Browser on Android in India increased by 117 percent, UC Web noted.
In addition, UCWeb announced (as it turned nine years old) that Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has officially joined the Board of Directors of UCWeb, hinting at its ambitions to go beyond just being a browser and provide more e-commerce services as it seeks to monetize further. Yu Yongfu, chairman and CEO of UCWeb, says:
To further drive development, we’ve invited Jack Ma to join our board. We hope that Jack will bring the tremendous experience he has in building Alibaba to our company, and Alibaba’s strength as the dominant e-commerce platform in China will help accelerate UCWeb’s transformation into a one-stop shop of Internet services.
UCWeb notes that UC Browser contributed to 41 percent of the mobile traffic to the Alibaba-owned Taobao marketplace, according to the quarterly report Taobao Wireless Division released in Q2 2012.
UCWeb says it has ambitions to go global, and India seems to be only its first stop. Even in India, to push its market expansion, UCWeb has localized both the UC Browser and the operations, doubling its office space and targeting up to 100 employees in 2014, a majority of whom will be Indian nationals.
In a sign of how Samsung is the dominant player in India, UC Web says that most people who access the web via UC Browser for Android use Samsung devices — with 16 out of 20 in the top Android devices of active UC Browser users from Samsung.
Indians also love Facebook — UCWeb notes that Facebook is the most popular website by monthly page views, with over 60 percent of total page views on Android from Facebook. This is followed by Google Search, which gets 7 percent of the total page views.
Last month, UCWeb beefed up its offerings for developers, making publicly available an open platform that had been in a testing stage for almost two months.
Headline image via Thinkstock
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