UC Web, one of the leading mobile browser providers, today launches UC+ Open Platform which consists of a WebApp store, plugin platform and application bookmark platform. It will go live with the launch of UC Browser for Android v9.2.

Addressing Mobile WebApp Strategy

UC WebApp Center was one of the first for mobile WebApps in China. UC Web claims it’s the world’s largest mobile WebApp store by user base, with 47 million monthly active users, more than 1,500 apps in 20 categories, and 180 million downloads.

We see more and more developers in China developing HTML5-empowered mobile WebApps. With WebApps, users don’t have to download a native app or update it again and again; for developers it helps save development costs as they don’t have to develop separate ones for different mobile operating systems. Problems with it include WebApps only works when your mobile devices are connected to the Internet. And HTML5 isn’t good enough to support some complicated games or services. UC Browser, with its in-house developed U3 engine, claims it offers “perfect support of HTML5”.

In China there has been a handful of mobile WebApp markets established by Tencent, Dianxin, and, most recently, Dolphin Browser. It’s obvious that those Chinese mobile browsers want to become the new home screen of our smartphones when it is found that browser is increasingly irrelevant in the mobile Internet world. And they turn to web-based applications trying to enable users do everything within a mobile browser.

Actually there has been some successful cases in this matter in China. Qihoo, the Internet security and service provider, took advantage of the explosion of HTML5-enabled browser games, or web games, offering those games within its PC-based browser and share revenues with game developers.

UC Web is in that direction too, by penning users within the browser, the company can surely make money from the three revenue generators, advertising, consumer-facing premium services and e-commerce, Mr. Yu Yongfu, CEO of UC Web always counts on — it’s also the Qihoo way when it comes to monetization. A post on AllthingsD by Mr. Yu last week showed their eagerness to make revenues.

Plugin Platform & Application Bookmark Platform

With an SDK provided by UC Web, developers can create programs that can be called on in UC Browser’s usage scenarios. Users can browse for plugins available on the plugin panel, add plugins to get personalized internet browsing experience like sharing to Weibo, webpage translation, augmented reality, voice control, etc. QVOD player, a video player, and Camera360, a photo-taking app, has developed plugins for UC Browser. More will be released on UC Browser for Android v9.2.

UC Application Bookmark platform would create a QR code for the partner website for users to scan-and-access the website. The website will then be added to the homepage of the navigation page on the browser. More than 20 websites have become UCWeb’s partners.

Tracey Xiang is Beijing, China-based tech writer. Reach her at traceyxiang@gmail.com

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