Indian market has great growth potential, offers large user base: Huaiyuan Yang, UCWeb
Huaiyuan Yang, Vice President, UCWeb Global Business, speaks about his new role, UC Browser’s market share in India and the evolution of UC Web Browser
Huaiyuan Yang, the recently appointed Vice President of UCWeb Global Business at Alibaba Innovation Initiatives Business Group, has said UC will bridge the digital divide by allowing everyone the right to enjoy information and create content.
Yang is responsible for overseas business of UCWeb, including India and Indonesia. He is currently in charge of UC Browser product development, news feed and content operations, business development, branding and marketing for global markets.
In a conversation with exchange4media, Yang spoke about his new role, UC Browser’s market share in India, the evolution of UC Web Browser and more.
On the vision for UCWeb Global Business as Vice President
In all our overseas markets, UC is guided by user value needs and adheres to a localisation strategy.
To serve our global consumers, UC will bridge the digital divide by giving everyone the right to enjoy information and to create content, which contributes to building the content ecology of UC. In terms of India, UC has always been a pioneer in the this market and UC Browser has a strong reputation for fast downloading and mobile data saving.
Smartphones have changed users’ terminal usage habits, providing more scenarios for content consumption while stimulating the demand for content consumption. We will not only serve the consumers but also empower content creators. As mobile data gets affordable, there will be explosive growth for video content consumption. Short-form and snackable content is already driving the growth in the consumption of digital media and re-shaping the content space. The next few years will usher in a new era of content creation and distribution, even monetization. Short-video content has seen a surge in 2018 with over 3.6 crore short-videos aggregated on UC Browser. Short-form content, including short videos and snackable content, is UC’s top content priority for 2019.
The Indian market has a tremendous growth potential and offers a large user base. A huge market is accompanied by many challenges, but I am confident about solving all the difficulties and will keep investing in the Indian market.
On strategies followed to meet the demand of Indian users
Our user stickiness rate has actually been steadily growing. We had a record consumption of over 4 billion content pieces for cricket-related content during the recently concluded cricket season – including IPL 2019 and ICC World Cup 2019. UC Browser has also emerged as one of the most preferred platforms for sports content for audio live in multiple languages, with ball-to-ball commentary generating over 15 million users. During the IPL event, the average page view per visit was 5.4 in 2018, which increased to 6.28 in 2019. The total content consumption of UC Miss Cricket reached 60 million in 2019, which is much higher than 2018’s 19 million.
We are upgrading our products to meet the changing demands of Indian users in creative ways. This year, UC launched UC Browser Turbo and UC Browser Mini to meet users’ needs better.
UC Browser Turbo is a more convenient search tool with a clean interface, and free from ads and news feeds. It is designed to provide users with a faster search experience. UC Browser Mini is designed to meet the needs of users who are more likely to install small memory apps, so it features small storage and requires less space while still allowing users to enjoy the same functions as UC Browser, including consuming snackable content.
Evolution of UCWeb from a mobile browsing tool to a content distribution platform
Today, UC has transitioned from a browser tool to a content platform and the change is based on UC's insight towards the Indian market and change in need of our local users. Indian users have been extremely active in the consumption of digital content for the last few years. Users’ content demand has grown significantly.
UC has taken the lead in accumulating user reputation in the domain of browser tools and news feed and has been the first to introduce news feed into a browser. UC started the news feed service in 2016, launched the UC We-Media platform and began to partner with Indian publishers and content creators. We have partnered with more than 500 media groups in India to enrich the content supply. We are proud that users are willing to get information from the UC news feed.
The news feed is oriented to the needs of users’ priority, providing personalized content and paying attention to the interests of local users. Advanced AI algorithms are used for content aggregation and recommendation.
On content strategy and key focus areas for the Indian market in 2019
UC saw a huge market potential in India and has been investing in the Indian market since 2009. After over 10 years of development and continuous updating of products to meet the different needs of users, UC has accumulated a large user base in India with 130 million MAUs.
We are also determined on a localization strategy. This includes localization at the product level, on content, on language medium, and for recruitment. Currently, UC Browser supports 14 Indian languages and owns various channels that cover trending, entertainment, education, philanthropy and various other categories of content for the Indian user. UC news feed is available not only in English and Hindi but also in Tamil, Gujarati, Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, and Kannada, bringing more localised and relatable content to Indian users. UC is in the process of including more content in different vernacular languages. Upgrades to UC Browser are also meeting diverse needs of the Indian consumer. Both these versions cater to specific requirements of the new generation, but allows them to enjoy same functions as UC Browser.
On tackling the competition and unique content
In the Indian market, the differentiated business strategy of UC is determined by market conditions and user demands. With focus on content, we are no longer competing with tool-based products. Many functions on UC are forerunners. Fast downloading and saving traffic in the browser tool has earned us a strong reputation among users. UC also launched its news feed and content transformation earlier than other international giants.
Our content supply is diverse and localised. Along with encouraging users to create content, we have been cooperating with Indian production houses for video licences related to movies.
Also, we work with a number of key media who can provide us with quality news sources.
The ecology of new media content is still in its infancy in India. The content supply is insufficient, but the market prospect is broad. We are very optimistic about the future and will work to enhance the ecology. We will also focus on aiding new content creators through investment and resource empowerment.
On expansion plans for the Indian market
India is an important market for UC and we are determined on a localisation strategy. This includes localisation at the product level, on content, on language medium, and for recruitment. The UC news feed is available not only in English and Hindi but also in Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Oriya, Urdu, Bhojpuri and Assamese. UC is guided by user needs, and has the patience to make long-term ecological investments in India and will consider various investment opportunities in the future.
Through innovative products and technologies, UC is committed to building a healthy content ecosystem. For content creators, we actively help them grow and realise their dreams. For global users, we provide interesting, informative, valuable and diversified content, which helps eliminate the digital divide.
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