You may have used UC Browser already. The browser, which boasts of having upset the big boys Opera and Chrome in other emerging markets, has been accessible in Kenya through the Google Play Store, the iTunes Store and other third-party application stores for as long as smartphones have been around in this market. So you are not about to see anything new. Just the same old UC Browser. The difference is the approach.
UCWeb, the company behind UC Browser which is owned by Chinese giant Alibaba Group, wants to expand the browser’s visibility.
With a focus on the Kenyan market, that means that the team behind UC Browser will be keen on partnerships with local players like advertisers, publishers and other online content creators in a push to put front and centre content that will appeal to the Kenyan internet user. Instead of mainly content from other regions, users are likely to start seeing content relevant to them. Suggested content that is tailored for the Kenyan market.
At the moment, UC Browser ranks third when it comes to the number of people using it to access sites on the world wide web. Google’s Chrome browser is second while Opera through Opera Mini remains the darling of the African market. UC Browsers seeks to reverse this with its focus on specific countries starting with Kenya. In other parts of the world like Asia, UC Browser ranks first in terms of usage when pitted against competitors. Whether it will succeed in that push remains to be seen. Basic internet-ready phones like Nokia’s Symbian devices ship with Opera Mini as the default browser. As a result of past arrangements with device makers who preloaded Opera Mini on their devices, Opera Mini is widely known by users. Most still go back to it upon upgrading to their first smartphone. This is thanks in part to its legendary data compression feature which comes in handy when you are very data conscious.
While it has a desktop browser, its core focus on the Kenyan market will be the mobile user since most people in Kenya access the internet from their mobile phones. The browser is available for download in app stores of all mobile platforms including Symbian and Java.