Led by UC Browser, China spends twice as much time on mobile browsers as last year



iResearch, the Shanghai-based internet research firm, released a report today revealing data on mobile browser usage in China.

Among other key points, the study revealed that the most popular mobile browser in China (measuring both iOS and Android devices) is UC Browser, the popular app designed by UCWeb, with a market share of over 65 percent when measured in monthly active users.

Sitting behind UC Browser is Tencent’s QQ Mobile Browser with roughly 30 percent market share, followed by Baidu’s Baidu Browser at roughly 10 percent.


Other key data points from the report include:

  • Mobile browser effective usage time increased 97 percent in China from November 2012 to November 2013.
  • Mobile browsers reached 210 million monthly active users by November 2013, marking a 51 percent increase from the year prior.
  • The number of mobile browsers on the average Chinese consumer’s phones has decreased year-on-year, from 2.46 in November 2012 to 1.29 in November 2013.

Mobile browsers tend to be one of those love-them-or-leave-them apps on smartphones. For some users, they’re the core of the mobile experience, the gateway to everything they do on their phones. For others they’re borderline bloatware, to be used only when they’re required to type in a URL. And while web-browsing on a smartphone pales in comparison to doing so on a tablet or desktop, mobile browsers are likely to grow more powerful in the future, acting equally as “fluid” as native apps.

As a result, a successful mobile browser can serve as prime real estate to push other moneymaking services. In the case of UC Browser, Chinese tech giant Alibaba owns a sizeable stake in parent company UCWeb. This gives the e-commerce firm yet another potential avenue into the pocketbooks of consumers in China and India, where it owns over 25 30 percent market share.

The full Chinese-language report from iResearch is available for download here.

(Editing by Paul Bischoff; image via Flickr user pamhule)

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