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Mobile content: Alibaba's UCWeb to invest Rs 2 billion in India & Indonesia

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MUMBAI: UCWeb, part of Alibaba Mobile Business Group, has announced its plans to invest Rs 2 billion over the next two years in India and Indonesia market. The funds will primarily be used to tap the huge potential of user-generated content in India via its news distribution and content platform, UC News.

UC News, a major product of UCWeb Inc. is a big-data powered content distributor, serving as a one-stop source of trending and curated news content covering all popular categories that Indian users can consume on the go, with featured channels including news, cricket, technology, entertainment, movies, lifestyle, health, humor, etc. within five months of its launch, UC News became the top app under News Category on Google Play.

Alibaba mobile business group president (overseas business) Jack Huang said, “As India enters the age of increased content consumption through its mobile devices, there is a huge potential for the growth of user-generated content in India similar to what has happened in China. There are more than 600 mn mobile users and 20 mn online content creators in China whereas India currently has 371 mn mobile users with miniscule contribution from self-publishing outlining a huge demand-supply gap. UCWeb has adopted a strategy of becoming a leading content distribution platform. As such, our flagship product UC Browser has also transformed itself from being the No.1 mobile browser in India, according to StatCounter.India is the most critical overseas market for UCWeb and this investment will help bring in the global mobile internet to an era of ‘GUF’ (Google, UCWeb, and Facebook).”

Earlier this month, UC News announced a detailed monetary compensation plan in a bid to offer unique content on UC News and further consolidate its position as a content distribution platform. UC News will also help contributors gain traffic, revenue and followers with the help of Big Data technology and smart content distribution system.

Alibaba mobile business group GM (overseas business) Kenny Ye said, "With growth in consumption of Information Feeds, non-conventional News Feeds – including blog posts, independent write ups, imagery feeds, video logs, short video content and more have become a huge hit. In the near future, we believe that more professionally trained content contributors will establish themselves as “We-Media”, a collective term for those who turn themselves into independent media brands. We also estimate that more and more digital content consumers will turn themselves into “prosumers” - consumers who also contribute to the content production, which will also contribute to the increase of digital content creators in India.”

“Our aim is to make the UC We-media Program the No. 1 platform for content consumption, creation and services in India and Indonesia. We plan to add more than 30,000 self-publishers, bloggers and key opinion leaders to our platform in 2017, generating over 10,000 articles for UC News, every single day,” Jack added.

“The We-media Platform supports with “Money, Service, and Traffic”, providing a well-operated mechanism to self-publishers, bloggers and KOLs in creating income and increasing their popularity. Our platform is to add value to every word they write with not just massive viewership, but also monetary profits, getting them “paid by millions”. For beginners and niche content writers, our program offers methodology for a deeper engagement, helping them draw advertisers and readers, Kenny said.

UCWeb will add resources to aid quality enhancement of vertical content and news in regional and minority languages. Content in entertainment, sports and technology category will remain the biggest focus areas for 2017. In addition, UCWeb will also offer column operation service to quality self-publishers, bloggers and KOLs.

UC News, available in three languages (Hindi, Indonesian and English), integrates trending content from social media and partners with traditional media, self-publishers and key opinion leaders for original content. According to a report released earlier this month by UC News analyzing key content preferences of Indian consumers on the mobile, over 87 per cent of UC News users are below-30 age bracket with almost 75 per cent users below 25 years of age. Men continue to be the dominant user group of UC News by almost six times versus women. Humor and Offbeat content in We-media Program are most popular amongst the audience reading in Hindi while Entertainment and Lifestyle scored with users reading in English. Total time spent consuming content on the mobile has seen a sharp uptick of 230 per cent in Q4 versus Q3. The total page views on UC News also rose over 290 per cent with content in Hindi seeing maximum traction. Indian users read in Hindi almost five times more than English on the mobile in 2016.

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