Competition between Internet security service provider Qihoo and Kingsoft Network (not official translation), a subsidiary of Chinese veteran tech company Kingsoft, intensified after Keniu was merged into Kingsoft’s anti-virus business in late 2010. Keniu, founded by former Qihoo exec Fu Sheng, started from photo editing software but, eventually, settled on Internet security before it became a Kingsoft company.
Three years later, Qihoo now is dominating in online/mobile security, web browser, and mobile app distribution in China, and a US-listed company that defeated short sellers with a working business model. In the meantime, a bunch of traditional Internet security companies in China were wiped out by Qihoo’s free-of-charge strategy and efficient marketing practices.
Kingsoft Network adopted a similar business model to Qihoo’s to survive with free offerings. At the same time, according to its CEO Fu Sheng, the company decided to focus on anti-virus rather than a Qihoo 360 Safety Guard-style product to avoid head-on collision. Kingsoft Network claims it has been catching up from with one tenth of Qihoo’s user base to currently one third.
But the chances to challenge Qihoo in China’s security and web browser markets are slim. It’s also the case when it comes to challenging Baidu in search, Tencent in online chatting or Alibaba in e-commerce marketplace. More than a few Chinese developers have turned to overseas markets to start up or expand their existing businesses.
Yesterday (December 22th, 2013), Kingsoft Network announced that Clean Master, an Android storage management app they stealthily released one year ago in English-language market, had had more than 100 million users, at an event organized by local online news service Huxiu. Clean Master, in short, is for cleaning out Android phone storage and, at the same time, keeps your private information safe.
The reason that they never mentioned it before, according to Mr. Fu, is to avoid drawing attention from Qihoo.
Qihoo has been working on international expansion this year, too. The company launched an English version of its flagship security service mid this year and recently invested in a Brazilian security service developer. At our TechNode/TechCrunch event last month, Li Tao, VP of Qihoo International Business Development, disclosed that they had had 10 million overseas users.
Kingsoft Network said yesterday that their international strategy, again, is to avoid direct competition with Qihoo’s core products, mobile security and app management services. So came the Android device cleaner. Kingsoft Network seems satisfied with the distance in the number of overseas users from Qihoo’s although the two products are not direct competitors. In July Clean Master was translated it into Chinese and the company saw positive feedback in domestic market too, said Fu.