Ina Fried

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Chinese Mobile Browser Maker UCWeb Aims for a Billion Users

Chinese mobile browser maker UCWeb has 50 percent of the Chinese market and 20 percent share in India. That’s 300 million people, but CEO Yu Yongfu isn’t satisfied.

He wants to have a billion customers in five years.

And, it’s not just about eyeballs. Yu says the company is also making money.

As a private company, he is loath to share too many details, but he notes the company is supporting 1,200 employees — including 900 in product development. “We have made very good progress in monetization,” he said in an interview on Friday.

Android is proving to be the key growth vehicle for UCWeb these days. Some 1 million Android devices are being activated each day and 30 percent of those have UCWeb’s browser. And it’s not just coming from UCWeb’s home market in China.

“We’ve seen very good growth in markets like India and Indonesia,” Yu said, via an interpreter. “We expect there is going to be explosive growth in 2013.”

Another part of that strategy is to crack into the U.S. market. The company has early versions of its products for the U.S. with several hundred thousand users. Last month it opened an office in Sunnyvale and it is working to build products more tailored to this market.

That means everything from building partnerships with companies like Evernote to recognizing different connotations certain colors have in different countries. Red may be the color of money in China, but in America it is all about the greenback. Green is also the color when the stock market goes up here, Yu said.

“It’s not right or wrong; it’s just different,” says Yu, whose name roughly translates to “very lucky person.”

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Nobody was excited about paying top dollar for a movie about WikiLeaks. A film about the origins of would have done better.

— Gitesh Pandya of comments on the dreadful opening weekend box office numbers for “The Fifth Estate.”