Alibaba-owned company UC Browser started 2018 in a strong fashion in India, beating Google Chrome to keep its reign as the country’s top mobile browsing platform. The web browser's success could help Alibaba increase its footprint there.
The browser’s agreement with Chinese smartphone makers, which produce 50 percent of Indian smartphones and pre-load US Browser on their handsets, is paying off. UC Browser has seen users increase sharply over the last two years at a time when India is adding almost 110 million smartphone users every year.
In December 2017, UC Browser's share in India's mobile browser market stood at 43 percent, compared with Google Chrome’s 35.5-percent share, according to data from analytics engine Statcounter.com.
UC Browser attracts users with low memory usage, content in multiple languages and user-friendly interface.
"There are a few things that work for it, especially the user interface. [When] I'm browsing on Youtube, the browser gives me a touch screen control, so I can reduce the volume. I can forward the video just by tapping on the screen, which I cannot do on Google Chrome,” said Yatish Suvarna, deputy editor at India’s Stuff Magazine.
UC Browser's consistent dominance in the mobile browsing market bodes well for its parent company's plans in India.
Indian media said Alibaba would invest 100 million US dollars in an Indian logistics startup, XpressBees, and 200 million US dollars in Bigbasket, India's largest online grocer.
As it looks to push forward with its ventures in the country, UC Browser’s huge number of users is likely to help.
"Their ad network gains a lot of traction in the country. So if they want to push a new service, no matter which vertical they are looking at, they can simply slip it through their own browser. That's going to give them word of mouth reach in this country which primarily has budget- and mid-range handsets," said Mithun Mohandas, assistant technical editor at India’s Digit Magazine.