Short-form, snackable content is driving growth, says Huaiyuan Yang, V-P, UC Web Global Business

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Published: January 15, 2020 12:30:21 AM

UC is in the process of including more content in different vernacular languages on the platform. Besides, UC is going to the South of India to excavate local language insights and user demands

Huaiyuan Yang, vice-president, UCWeb Global BusinessHuaiyuan Yang, vice-president, UCWeb Global Business

UC Browser is a leading third-party mobile browser with 1.1 billion users downloads worldwide (excluding China) with half of its global installs from India. Owned by UCWeb, a business within Alibaba Innovation Initiatives Business Group, UC Browser is the only browser to be part of Top 10 most downloaded apps of the decade (App Annie); of late, it has transferred from a tool-plus product to a content platform, to cater to users’ demands. “The Indian market has tremendous growth potential and offers a large user base,” Huaiyuan Yang, vice-president, UCWeb Global Business, tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

How is the mobile internet landscape evolving globally?

Smartphones have changed users’ terminal usage habits, providing more scenarios for content consumption of varied kinds, all the while stimulating demand for content creation. With regards to India, there is also increase in creation and consumption of trendy, short-form content, especially video. Short-form and snackable content is driving growth in the consumption of digital media and re-shaping the content space. Given this scenario, UC Browser has now transferred from a tool-plus product to a content platform, to further cater to users’ demands. Our goal is to create a responsible content ecosystem that narrows the digital divide, creates more jobs and helps alleviate poverty in India.

How significant is India market for UC Browser?

India remains one of the most important markets for UC. The Indian market has tremendous growth potential and offers a large user base. The new media content ecosystem is taking off in a big way now. The content supply remains insufficient since tens of thousands of Indian users, with wide-ranging and diverse needs, are joining the internet on a daily basis.

We are very optimistic about the future and will work to enhance the ecology through optimisation of technology, production tools, and ecological guidance. We will also focus on empowering new content creators through investment and resource empowerment. UC will always be on the lookout for investment opportunities in India to serve its wide user base of 130 million (MAUs).

What steps are you taking to strengthen your position in the digital content and browser space?
We are upgrading our products to meet the changing demands of Indian users in creative ways. UC launched UC Browser Turbo and UC Browser Mini to better meet users’ needs. UC Browser Turbo is a more convenient search tool with a clean interface and Ad block feature for those who want a simple platform to navigate on. 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 browsers, 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.

What are some of the challenges you face and what steps are you taking to mitigate those?
India is distinctive and vibrant with a lot of languages and a colourful culture which results in different users’ demand and consumption habits. Language diversity can be a challenge for content delivery. Localisation strategy is unwaveringly the ideal solution. This includes localisation at the product level, on content language, on content topics. UC Browser is available not only in English and Hindi but also in Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Oriya, Urdu, Bhojpuri and Assamese and Manipuri, bringing more localised and relatable content to Indian users. UC is in the process of including more content in different vernacular languages on the platform. Besides, UC is going to the South of India to excavate local language insights and user demands.

What are your expansion plans for 2020?
We have been present in the Indian market since 2009. UC has always been a pioneer in the Indian market and UC Browser has a strong reputation for fast downloading and mobile data saving. Digital content consumption is on the rise in India and we are able to customise, curate and present diverse content to users via our complete product portfolio. We will continue to provide an array of interesting, informative, valuable and diversified content. For self-generated content creators, we will be able to actively help them grow and be empowered to write their own success story.

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