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Damon Xi promoted to head UCWeb in India and Indonesia

Alibaba-owned mobile business company UCWeb has promoted Damon Xi as the head of UCWeb for India and Indonesia. Xi will now be responsible for the UCWeb ecosystem and content co-operation. He had been appointed the general manager of UCWeb India, in December last year, and was overseeing business development.

Prior to joining Alibaba Group, Xi headed global operation and strategic partnerships at Tencent for over three years, and before that he was the director of strategic planning at Alcatel Mobile for 7 years.

In India, the UC Browser crossed 100 million monthly active users (MAUs) in November last year. Earlier in June last year, the news aggregation feature in UC Browser was launched as a separate app called UCNews. UC Web had crossed 50% market share in India in November 2015, and currently holds a 50.3% market share in the country among mobile browsers, according to StatCounter.

In January this year, Alibaba announced it will be investing Rs 200 crore over 2 years into UCWeb for its India and Indonesia operations. The funds will primarily be used to support UC News features, which includes news aggregation as well the blogging platform integrated within UC News. This is UCWeb’s second investment into the country after it earlier invested a part of $170 million in 2013 for global expansion in countries including India.

UCWeb also provides an e-commerce shopping aggregation feature on its Android app store called 9Apps, which aggregates products and pricing offers from companies like Paytm, Flipkart, Myntra, Snapdeal, Jabong, Askmebazar, Voonik and Shopclues. UCWeb claimed over 1 million users were using the feature, in October last year.

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Alibaba’s digital media revenue

Alibaba’s digital media and entertainment segment reported revenues of $585 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2016 (Q4 FY17), up 270% year-on-year from $158 million. The company credited the growth to its increasing revenue from “mobile value-added” products run by UCWeb, which includes services like mobile search, news feeds and game publishing.

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