TechCrunch today reported that Jack Ma, the founder of China's ecommerce behemoth Alibaba, has joined the board of UC web, the company behind popular mobile browser UC Browser. Ma's inclusion to UC web's board is to, as the company's press release claims, "to build a mobile ecosystem in India." This news comes shortly after the recent announcement from the Chinese company that UC browser is the most used mobile browser in India. The browser currently holds a 29.9% marketshare in India, followed very closely by Opera browser, at 28.6%. UC web went on to call India its second headquarters and is currently based in Gurgaon. Apart from India, UC browser has a dominant marketshare in China.
“We hope that Jack will bring the tremendous experience he has in building Alibaba to our company, and Alibaba’s strength as the dominant e-commerce platform in China will help accelerate UC Web’s transformation into a one-stop shop of Internet services," said UC Web chairman and CEO Yu Yongfu.
We've been in touch with the UC web team for a while now and they've chosen iOS as the first platform that they're targeting as a part of their India plan. They've shared some fairly insightful data on the performance of the browser in comparison to others. Now, it is worth noting that this report is from the UC web team, but upon playing with the browser for long enough, I wouldn't say that it was very different from what the following stats say -
UC browser comes from a Java phone background and on the Symbian and S-40 platforms, it was an immensely popular browser. These phones could be a large contributing factor to UC browser's India marketshare. On the smartphone, the UC browser has interesting options, with which it allows many browser add ons to make your browsing experience more personalized. (Read here in detail). But these customizations don't make much sense on a smartphone because there are apps for most of them.
But the biggest of UC browser's problem is probably in the perception of digital products from China in India. A proposal to ban WeChat recently came from the intelligence bureau. This could hamper adoption in India. Yes, they do have a large marketshare in India, but it will be interesting to know how much smartphone share they have in India. It will be interesting to see how UC web goes from here.
If you're looking for alternatives, then this is a browser which isn't too bad.
Click here to know more about UC browser