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Indian market is the most successful example of our global layout- Huaiyuan Yang, Alibaba

In an interview with Everything Experiential, Huaiyuan Yang, Vice President of UCWeb Global Business, Alibaba Innovation Initiatives Business Group shared the vision behind the conference, brand reputation of UCWeb in the Indian market and more.

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Alibaba Group’s UCWeb, on behalf of its philanthropic arm Alibaba Foundation, hosted the second Philanthropy Forum in India in a bid to drive universal education in the country. 

Initiatives announced in the forum included the establishment of “Internet plus Philanthropy Model” by UCWeb, Alibaba’s browser unit, which aims to create a responsible content ecosystem that helps narrow the digital divide, create jobs and alleviate poverty in India. 

In an interview with Everything Experiential, Huaiyuan Yang, Vice President of UCWeb Global Business, Alibaba Innovation Initiatives Business Group shared the vision behind the conference, brand reputation of UCWeb in the Indian market and more.

Excerpts:

What is your vision behind the conference? And what do you mean by “The Internet plus Philanthropy Model”?

We believe that social responsibility can never be a burden for an enterprise. In the business model of every company, there exists an intersection point of social responsibility and itself. We believe that only when social responsibility becomes a part of the business model, the enterprise can survive and develop in the long term.

Social responsibility is inside Alibaba's genes. It also shapes Alibaba's unique philosophy on philanthropy.

Internet plus Philanthropy Model is a transparent, mobilized and effective new model of charity. UC is also constructing a responsible content ecosystem, using internet technologies to pass information and knowledge, narrowing the digital gap, creating more jobs and eliminating poverty. The internet is not bound by time and space which makes philanthropy possible for everyone. Without proper knowledge, a child misses out the opportunities required to advance in life and to contribute to the good of the society. Education is a tool to bring a turnaround to the socio-economic conditions of most people in the country. UCWeb is the first mobile internet company to launch such charity innovation. With only a few clicks per day, you can help with the education of a child.

How India is placed on the priority list of Alibaba?

UCWeb is a prominent part of Alibaba Group with its user influence and brand reputation in the Indian market. It is an extended portfolio of Alibaba Innovation Initiatives Business Group, focusing on the content platform and content ecological construction and business development based on the user demands. India is an important market for UC and we are determined on a localisation strategy. This includes localisation at the product level, on content, on language medium, and for recruitment. The UC news feed is available not only in English and Hindi but also 11 local languages including Tamil, Marathi, Telugu, Gujarati, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Oriya, Urdu, Bhojpuri and Assamese. UC will consider various investment opportunities in the future in India.

As a global Internet company, our branches are in South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Middle East, North America, and other places. Currently we have 430 million global MAUs (monthly active users). The Indian market is the most successful example of our global layout, with 80% of local employees and 130 million MAUs. Digital content consumption is on the rise in India and we are able to customize, curate and present diverse content to users via product portfolios. Through innovative products and technologies, UC is committed to building a healthy content ecosystem. For global users, we provide interesting, informative, valuable and diversified content, which helps eliminate the digital divide.

The digital content space, while thriving, is already crowded. Why this shift for UC from a mobile browsing tool to a content distribution platform?

UC has transitioned from a browser tool to a content platform and the change is based on UC's insight towards the Indian market and change in need of our local users. Indian users have been extremely active in the consumption of digital content for the last few years. Users’ content demand has grown significantly.

UC has taken lead in accumulating user reputation in the domain of browser tools and news feed and was the first to introduce news feed into a browser. UC started the news feed service in 2016, launched the UC We-Media platform and began to partner with Indian publishers and content creators. We have partnered with more than 700 media groups in India to enrich the content supply and on-boarded over 120,000 self-generated content creators. We are proud that users are willing to get information from UC news feed.

The news feed is oriented to the needs of users’ priority, providing personalized content and paying attention to the interests of local users. Advanced AI algorithms are used for content aggregation and recommendation.

A large percentage of users abandon an app after a single use or never stick around for more than 15 seconds. What strategies are you following to ensure user attention?

Our user stickiness rate has actually been steadily growing.

We had a record consumption of over 4 billion content pieces for cricket-related content during the recently concluded Cricket Season – including IPL 2019 and ICC World Cup 2019. UC Browser has also emerged as one of the most preferred platforms for sports content for audio live in multiple languages, with ball-to-ball commentary generating over 15 million user consumption. During the IPL event, the average page view per visit was 5.4 in 2018, which increased to 6.28 in 2019. The total content consumption of UC Miss Cricket reached 60 million in 2019, which is much higher than 19 million of 2018.

We are upgrading our products to meet the changing demands of Indian users in creative ways. This year, UC has 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 free from ads and news feeds. 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 apps, 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 kind of content partners do you work with?

Our content supply is diverse and localized. Along with encouraging users to create content, we have been cooperating with Indian production houses for video licences related to movies. Also, we work with a number of key media who can provide us with quality news sources. So far, we have tied up with over 700 media houses and close to 20 production houses. This number will significantly grow in the coming months.

The ecology of new media content is still in its infancy in India. The content supply is insufficient, yet the market prospect is wide. We are extremely optimistic about the future and will work to enhance the ecology. We will likewise concentrate on aiding new content creators through investment and resource empowerment. Currently, over 120,000 We-Media Bloggers upload self-created content on UC platforms. We also have tie-up with over 20 leading movie production houses in the country.

What's the response of short videos feature so far?

As the Indian government has vigorously promoted Digital India, India's overall network has improved and users’ mobile devices have also been upgraded. For the last two years, Indian users have been extremely active in the consumption of digital content.

UC browser caters to users with several other forms of snackable content. In addition to short-videos, UC also provides users with interesting GIFs and Memes.

UC has been able to create relevant short-content related to multiple movies for viewers interested in entertainment content. We have been able to replicate this with sports content, especially cricket, as well. Just to give you a perspective, UC Browser witnessed a record consumption of over 4 billion content pieces for cricket-related content during IPL 2019 and ICC World Cup 2019. We have been one of the most preferred platforms for live audio commentary across multiple languages, which generated over 15 million consumption since launched in June.


Tags assigned to this article:
alibaba group ucweb Alibaba foundation

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