Chinese mobile browser UC Browser is now experimenting with some interesting ways to become more relevant in the Indian market. The company has rolled out price comparison (with Junglee) on the browser, which is already the top browser in India.
It also has integrated various shopping websites to the browser and showcases deals in categories including Mobile, Shoes, Electronics, Clothing, Books, Beauty, Travel and Recharge.
“We see mobile e-commerce as a big driver in India,”Kenny Ye, MD, UCWeb told NextBigWhat in an interview. The browser company has been seeing that more and more users are surfing 3-4 websites before making a buying decision.
Ye said that their e-commerce partners have seen a steep rise in number of buyers who come through UC Browser. “In the last 6 months we tracked, there has been about 30% month on month increase in traffic to e-commerce companies through our platform,” he said. He declined to share absolute numbers.
For UCWeb, the company which runs the UCBrowser, India is the second largest market after China and it makes sense to become an affiliate to the e-commerce companies looking to reduce customer acquisition cost.
With over 500 mn users worldwide, UCWeb has a formidable user base. The company opened its office in India in 2011 and quickly dislodged Opera from the #1 position it held.
We did a quick Q&A with Kenny Ye. Edited Excerpts.
Since you entered India in 2011, what has been the growth like?
We have become the #1 browser by market share in India. Right now, we are trying to integrate with a lot of information services in areas like entertainment and lifestyle. For instance, we have partnerships with lot of local cricket websites like Cricbuzz. We have also integrated a lot of famous e commerce websites in India. We have seen that mobile e-commerce is booming. Localization is one of our key strategies in India.
Of the 500 mn worldwide users, how many are from India?
We haven’t disclosed country wise numbers yet. India is our second largest market after China.
How is that gap between India and China closing?
In China the growth in mobile users has plateaued. In India, it has just started. In China, we had over 600 mn Android phone users. India is 1/10th of that.
How big is your India office now?
We have about 25 people now.
For internet companies, monetizing has been a challenge in India. How do you plan to go about this?
We have tried some ways to monetize but we were just testing. Right now, lot of e-commerce companies provide affiliate programs and we can have cooperation with them.
Jack Ma is on your board. And you have integration with Alibaba shopping products in China. How do you see UC Browser playing a role in India for Alibaba?
It is not for me to comment on Alibaba. UCWeb is an independent company but has investments from Alibaba and other companies. The service is independent. We have some co-operation in the Chinese market but for overseas market, we don’t have anything now.