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Ali's unit aligns with Digital India

By He Wei in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-11 07:14

UCWeb, Alibaba's mobile browser subsidiary, pledged on Friday to serve the Indian market with better technology and products, after media reports said it was in talks with local telecoms and Wi-Fi providers to offer free internet service in the country.

"Internet access for all is integral to realize the Digital India dream and a long-term vision for UCWeb," the company said in a written reply to China Daily on Friday.

"Being the No 1 mobile browser in India, we should take on our responsibility to serve them with better technology and products."

Earlier this week, Jack Huang, president of overseas business of Alibaba Mobile Business Group, was quoted by Indian media as saying that the group was looking at opportunities to offer lower cost, or even free-of-charge data and better connectivity to users.

UCWeb declined to confirm the reports, but reiterated it would "respect and strictly adhere to local regulations of each country we operate in."

Huang said his group would focus on states in India that suffered from connectivity problems, and would analyze existing consumers to define who most need this kind of service.

Some 460 million people, or 34.8 percent of the Indian population, have access to the internet, according to estimates by the consultancy Internet Live Stats.

To bolster internet usage, the Indian government launched a nine-pillar initiative in 2015, including promoting public internet access, enhancing mobile connectivity and building broadband highways.

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