With 200 million active users at Asia, Chinese mobile browser UCWeb is considering expansion to western markets. The United States is one of the company’s targets as they are hopefully to have an IPO ready by next year at the earliest. For those who don’t know what UCWeb is, it is a mobile browser that works on multiple platforms such as Android, iOS, Blackberry, and Java. It has over 50% of the market share at China and 20% at India. In other words, UCWeb is in over 100 million phones at China and over a third of them are iOS devices. Users are able to acquire the browser by direct downloads and pre-install deals with mobile carriers, which is how a quarter of their users got it while the rest are from the former. The company wants to have their own IPO ready when they plan out their U.S. expansion, so they can distance themselves away from Asian stock exchanges. They don’t want to suffer the same mistake other Chinese IPOs had that are comparable to Groupon and Zynga’s fates on NASDAQ.
UCWeb executive Yu Yongfu said that he wants the company to remain independent, but it will eventually go public. He also wants to have something in the states going for the sake of improving the brand name since the Chinese market is at a bad spot. The company makes the majority of its revenue by advertising alone, about 75% to be exact, while the rest comes from other value-added services like games. Over 1,000 employees currently work at UCWeb, which was first founded back in 2004, but I can see that number increasing significantly once they set their foot to western markets. After seeing successful numbers mainly at China and India, UCWeb hopes to replicate those when they decide to expand to the states. We will see if they are able to with stiff competition from Apple’s Safari on iOS, Google Chrome, FireFox, and Internet Explorer on Windows Phones.
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