Online sharing in India dominated by Whatsapp, not Facebook: Kenny Ye of UCWeb

3rd Nov 2015
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At TechSparks 2015, Managing Director of UCWeb India, Kenny Ye urged startups to focus on their products and not so much on user acquisition. He has built the company’s business in the country and spoke about UCWeb’s focus on the mobile business from 2004.

Kenny shared his thoughts on how web-based products can be successful in India and was of the view that young startups can easily come up with successful products and then go on to an IPO, or merge with another tech company.

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“The purpose is to create something for the users that will change the world. The key point is to focus more on products but not so much on user acquisition.”

For a product company, Kenny said, it was important to engage users and the user community to help make their product better. “Because we at UCWeb focus more on products, we communicate with users through different means, and get a lot of user feedback. We make the products very fast and within four to six months, we are ready with a new product and a beta version with a few more innovations.”

He advised product startups to focus on all the different channels available to them – notifications on Facebook, for instance, or a browser. “We were among the first browser to enable notification through browsers,” he remarked.

Kenny further explained the benefits of such notifications by providing an example of one of UCWeb’s on products. “Many people in India travel by train. Therefore, the user will need to check the status every day to get a ticket. We got to know this pain point from our user community and set about addressing it,” he explained. For all their products, a product manager monitors ratings and feedback and checks if users have a problem and tries to improve the user experience. A score card is also maintained.

Kenny also advised product startups to maintain a good relationship with user community by engaging in communication, which will lead to instant, reliable feedback from them, which is an important aspect of improving the product. UCWeb takes customer feedback very seriously, including the comments on Google Play Store about its apps.

Use social media as much as possible, and make it easier for users to share their experience. He also pointed out that the most popular avenue of online sharing in India wasn’t Facebook, but Whatsapp, and that should be at the top of the options for sharing.

He advised building a community or a group on Facebook or other media and then remember to engage with users frequently. Focus on user engagement is critical, he said, and urged companies to communicate every day and throughout different events. Maintaining good relationship with your user community on Facebook pays handsome dividends.

“The number of fans overall isn’t as important as the number of loyal fans you have. And these are the ones who will give you the best, most useful feedback.”

Within a product itself, he emphasised the need for more interaction. “For example, on UC Cricket, users can share their predictions on the score of the game or share which team or player they support. They also engage within the community with each other and not just with us,” he elaborated.

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