UC Browser has become the second most used mobile browser worldwide, with 17.42% market share, according to StatCounter. The browser overtook Safari last month, which currently has a slightly lower 16.38% market share. Android’s default browser and Opera follow with 13% and 12.5% market share each, while Chrome leads the roost with a solid 35.8% market share.
In India, UC Browser leads with a 54.4% market share followed by Opera at 20.2% and Chrome at 13.5%. Note that in September, UCWeb updated its Android browser to version 10.7 with a UI overhaul, personalisation of discovery and content access. It started employing a card system, in the form of widgets like headlines, top sites, jokes, top free apps, shopping etc.
As of now, the browser claims to have 100 million daily active users, stating that it is available on over 3,000 different models of mobile devices from over 200 manufacturers and in 11 languages. In December 2012, it had claimed to have 40 million users in India and globally and it claimed to have surpassed 500 million quarterly active users in March last year.
Personal data leaks
In May, the browser came under some fire after it was reported that it was leaking sensitive user information, making it a privacy risk according to a Canadian technology research group Citizen Lab. The research was prompted by a document leaked by Edward Snowden, mentioning that the Chinese and English editions of the Android version of the browser made user data like location, search details, network operator and even mobile device identifier numbers like the IMEI number easily available to third parties. An Alibaba spokesperson said that they’d fixed the security concerns highlighted by Citizen Lab and updated its users about it.
Acquisition by Alibaba
Alibaba acquired UC Browser parent UCWeb in June last year. The company previously mentioned in its IPO filing that it owned 66% stake in UCWeb in form of convertible preferred shares, which the company had acquired over several years through several rounds of investments, the last of which was completed in April 2014.
UCWeb in India
UCWeb had setup its second headquarters in India in April 2013, in a bid to push its UC mobile browser among Indian users. The company had plans of investing $170 million in expanding its global operations, majority of which was expected to be deployed in India to build a mobile Internet ecosystem.