Penske Media Corporation (PMC), a US-based global digital media company, has had a presence in India since a joint venture was established by its subsidiary BGR.com and local Zee TV (India.com Media Ltd) in 2010.
Now the company is working on bringing Internet/mobile services to India, and vice versa. In China it has reached partnership with local companies such as WASU, a government-backed digital content company who recently sold 20% stake to Chinese Internet giants, Alibaba and Giant Interactive. PMC plans to introduce content or services by BGR.com India to China.
What sounds more interesting is PMC wants to help Chinese Internet services enter Indian market. Jay Penske, founder and CEO of PMC, thinks there is a variety of Chinese Internet services or business models, such as video platforms like Youku, Internet security services like Qihoo 360’s, mobile browsers and so on, that are absent or not strong in India and Chinese services have a good chance. Recently I chatted with him when he was in Beijing attending an event by WI Harper Group where he serves as an adviser. WI Harper Group itself has invested a lot of such services in China, such as web browser provider Maxthon.
Maxthon browsers actually has landed in India by making its service available in two local languages, Hindi and Bengali, two years ago. Maxthon, however, isn’t either the only Chinese web browser brand or the first there. UC Web, a mobile browser and mobile service provider, set up an office in India in 2011 after having gained tens of millions of users in the country.
India is one of the first overseas markets Chinese businesses, apart from Southeast Asia, would consider entering. Some traditional Chinese tech companies, such as Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo, have been in India for quite a time. According to Penske, now is a time for exporting Web or mobile services from China to India.
Currently UC Web seems that most successful Chinese Internet service in India. It claimed it was the second largest mobile browser in the country, with over 30% market share and slightly lagging behind Opera, as of the end of 2013.
Apart from different language versions, UC Web, according to interviews with its management, developed high-speed download service, Cloud-based storage and customized content when it comes to localization. UC Web found Indian users weren’t interested in data savings offerings as data costs were low thanks to competitions between some fifteen telecom operators. But they always preferred to download content instead of consuming online for mobile connections were’t fast.
But when it comes to app or service distribution, companies like UC Web adopted similar approaches to those in China. UC Web acquires users in India through smartphone pre-installs too. Connections with those Chinese smartphone manufacturers, Huawei, ZTE and Lenovo, help too.
UC Web says now they are capable of helping Chinese mobile services on its platform to get users in India since they have had a large user base and a large amount of traffic.
We see increasingly more Chinese tech companies are eyeing India. AppFlood, a China-based mobile advertising platform ran by PapayaMobile, saw their Chinese clients spent 6% more in Indian market, the sixth largest target region for their total mobile ad spend, in Q1 2014 than that in the previous quarter.
Xiaomi, the fast-growing Chinese smart device and mobile service provider, said they’d expand to developing markets including India soon.