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UC Web Browser has over 50 mn daily active users in India today: Morden Chen

UC Ads, empowered by UCWeb and Alibaba, is a mobile marketing solutions provider. With its intelligent content marketing solutions, huge user base and advanced technologies, UC Ads is able to help clients across the globe to connect with the right audience at the right time. UC Ads is leveraging its strong mobile users’ insights to deliver accurate and precise targeting for its partners. UC Ads is trusted by companies, including Amazon, Lazada, Tokopedia, Flipkart, Samsung, OPPO and Vivo, to name a few. 

Morden Chen, General Manager, Alibaba’s UC Ads, is leading the mobile advertising platform’s charge, which reaches more than 600 million mobile users per day. Chen is armed with over 15 years of experience across product management, sales, and marketing. Prior to Alibaba, he was GM – Worldwide Ad Sales for Cheetah Mobile, and also held key positions in Microsoft, Baidu, and Taiwan-based PChome’s Skype business unit.  

In conversation with Adgully, Morden Chen speaks about UC Web Browser’s presence in India, need for more content creators, evolution of the mobile Internet space and more. Excerpts: 

Please tell us more about the UC Web Browser.
We have the browser and the content; we are the content aggregators to push the right content to the right audience as per to the audience’s interest. UC Browser is one of the biggest browsers in India. We also have UC News. We have free apps as well as an alternative app store, which is the biggest independent app store in India. Unlike Google, which has a policy that does not allow other app store Likeapps to download, and all have to be downloaded from our official website. A lot of people in India and Indonesia love the product. 9Apps was used by a lot of people in India even before they started using Google Play. 

Indian consumers have been slow on the uptake of mobile technology. How is UC Browser accelerating the use of mobile tech?
Our mission at UC Browser is to serve the other half of the population who are beginners in the mobile Internet space. According to us, the beginners, instead of looking for something, prefer to be given something that they are interested in. I would suggest different apps for you depending on how we know you. As for our UC News and Browser, it is the same idea. As long as you read it, you can like it. We will get you more things that you are interested in. 

How has cheaper data in India been a boon for companies like yours?
We had considered to launch the Short Video version in the next two or three years, but decided to launch it this year – the reason being the timing was right. Also, within our feed it used to be text and graphic related content. We are now putting up more and more short video content because the price of the data is not a problem anymore. However, the speed is still a problem. 

I come to India almost three to four times a year, so in general, one-fifth of my time is spent in India and I experience the lack of internet speed a lot. In China, back in 2012 when half the people shifted from 3G to 4G, it was a key year and a lot of new initiatives were launched. Moreover, OTT came into prominence. Earlier, the growth used to be on laptops or PCs. But now, OTT growth is on mobile. We are seeing a lot of Internet advertising and video advertising. Consumer convenience is there, but data is one of the core infrastructures. As data becomes cheaper, its application will become simpler and easier. This will benefit not just UC, other companies as well. I can see that super growth is happening in consumer behaviour. Mobile Internet is making people’s lives a lot easier. Monetisation is always a problem; people are making users happy while money making is a long term stand. 

Where you see yourself in the Indian market in the next few years?
UC belongs to Alibaba’s mobile Internet group. People think Alibaba is just about e-commerce, but is also about financials. We have Alibaba Cloud to do cloud computing. We want to use the right products to attract the right audience. At Alibaba, we have the game also within the Big Entertainment group; we have a video platform just like the OTT platform here. In India, we want more content creators. For example, if you are a content creator, but you live in the rural area, we want to help you to be in sync with the others. We want everybody to show the best part of themselves. It is a tough job, but we are trying to do that. 

We have more than 50 million daily active users. In that huge number base, many people are browsing, but that’s just one thing that they do. As they spend more time, they will consume more different types of content and we believe that in mobile phones, UC Search might now be the most efficient way. What we want to do is use the browser as the core center, because it has tons of users on it already. We are inviting more and more content creators, text plus graphic; it could be a journalist who wants to be an independent writer, they can do it through UC. There are a lot of ways to monetise for an independent content maker. 

We will do more in video as well in the future. Graphic, text and video are something we want to nurture for the future. We are just a browser. Imagine if everyone just moves to apps then nobody will use a browser in the future. There will be some, but not so many. At this time when lots of people are still using a browser, it is our flagship product to do more things and do more in the content ecosystem.

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