Our priority in India is not the market share: Shunyan Zhu, President, UCWeb

President, UCWeb at Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group spoke about the group’s India journey & how they plan to handle competition posed by players like Facebook & Google

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Published: Sep 12, 2018 8:59 AM  | 3 min read

Alibaba Group owned mobile platform UCWeb has witnessed significant growth since its launch in India few years back. With over 130 million monthly active users, India has become the largest overseas market outside China for the company. The company is planning to make significant investments this year in the Indian market given the scope that it offers. On a short visit to India, Shunyan Zhu, President, UCWeb at Alibaba Digital Media & Entertainment Group spoke about the group’s India journey and how the company is looking to handle competition posed by players like Facebook and Google.

Watch the video here or read the excerpts below:

How important is India as a market for UCWeb?

India is definitely one of the important overseas markets for Alibaba Group and UCWeb. UCWeb has been in the country for a long time. We established our first India office in 2011, most importantly; we have already established a large user base. Globally we have 430 million monthly active users and in India alone we have 130 million monthly active users. So definitely this is one of the most important countries for us considering all the great potential of this country.

What would you call your biggest achievements in the Indian market so far?

Actually there are two biggest achievements with regard to the Indian market. The first is the product which has got encouraging response from the users, and that is definitely something we value the most. Although we have a very large user base here, we have been constantly innovating on our product here, which is the UC Browser. The second part is about localisation. More than 80 per cent of our employees here are Indians and that is something we are really proud of. We rely heavily on local talent to make the product bigger and I think it is another big achievement for us.

What are the biggest challenges faced by content publishers in today’s market environment?

We do believe that the content publishing industry is the future trend and that is part of the reason we are focusing big on this industry. Having said this, we have dealt with some barriers. For example, India is a country with huge diversity in terms of culture and languages. This diversity for all content publishers is a big challenge. Moreover, as a publisher, this country requires a lot of localisation and that is yet another challenge for us and for every player in this business and we are constantly innovating to deal with such challenges.

Do you think the content publishing ecosystem is witnessing a sort of monopoly, with players like Facebook and Google dominating it to a large extent?

We think there is no absolute monopoly in the industry. The reasons are: in the content publishing business the user needs are very diversified in terms of language, formats etc. Also the industry has been growing very fast especially with the availability of low cost data and smartphones. At UC our priority in India is not the market share, instead we are focused on meeting consumer’s needs and our belief is that if we can meet consumer needs in the fast changing market landscape, we can definitely get the expected market share that we want. So first of all we have to build a very healthy content ecosystem to make this pie bigger.

How would you define your India strategy going forth?

Innovation is in UC’s genes. We keep innovating based on local users’ needs. Our strategy is ‘glocal’— to bring global resources and insights and then focus on localisation. Our big strategy for this fiscal also is to expand in the South of the country as it is one of the fastest growing markets for content publishers in India.

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