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Interview with Tao Li, Founder and Executive director, APUS Group

August 22, 2018
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India is one of the top five countries for mobile gaming in the world and technology players believe there is tremendous opportunity for growth and investment in the industry over next few years. Driven by this opportunity, several players are focusing on the Indian market. APUS Group, a technology company specialising in Android development and information services is one such player. Founded in June 2014, APUS Group's mission is to deliver the world's most intuitive user experience to Android smartphone users worldwide. Tao Li, Founder and Executive director, APUS shares his views on the company’s journey so far, key growth drivers and future roadmap…

How has been APUS’s journey in the Android development space?

APUS started to build a system based on five foundational modules for Android smartphones:

• System management

• Interactive interface management

• Application management

• Information and content management

• Social intercourse and account management

APUS provides overseas Android smartphone users with a superlative mobile Internet information portal service that can satisfy smartphone user requirements with an “All in one” solution. The APUS user system includes a series of tools, such as the APUS desktop, APUS browser, APUS search, APUS headline news, APUS application market, APUS game center, APUS search discovery, APUS ARTS, message center, camera, cleaning and acceleration. APUS is also developing different games and other applications currently. Based on the existing user base, APUS expects to build its own ecosystem. To support this ecosystem, APUS is building the big data platform, AI system and APUS cloud service platform as well.

What are the biggest growth drivers in the Indian market?

India is truly an ‘Android smartphones’-driven market. As per Statistical, which analyzed market shares of mobile operating systems in India from January 2012 to December 2017, Android held a share of 82.18 percent of the mobile operating system market in India until December 2017—a trend noticed globally as well. Smartphone adoption and Internet penetration in India has opened a numberof opportunities in a country like India. In fact, India is one of the most popular markets not only in the Asia-Pacific region but globally as well, as far as the smartphone ecosystem is concerned.

As per a report by Counterpoint, sales of smartphones in smaller cities and towns grew at a faster pace than in the metros and tier I cities, outpacing the overall market rate in 2017 and reversing thetrend of previous years. The smartphone market in tier 2 and 3 cities is expected to have expanded by 18 per cent in 2017 from 2016, at twice the pace of the urban markets, as prices of the devices declined. Moreover, Android smartphones have not only reached tier 2 or tier 3 Indian cities, but they have also penetrated much deeper into largely unknownIndian villages.

As more people get connected to the Internet via Android-enabled smartphones, it would only help us spread our wings. Developments in telecom infrastructure also contribute to the growth of our company.We aspire to use these opportunities to offer a highly elevated user experience to these newer users and gain stickiness forour brand.

Additionally, these developments have also helped create an ecosystem that directly aids the mobile app economy. As per the latest report by APP Annie, India is the fastest growing market for both iOS and Android applications. The country also leads in the number of mobile apps that were downloaded across both platforms as app revenues shot up sharply in the first quarter of 2018. All these factors create a highly conducive environment for us to operate in India. To capitalise on these trends, APUS is delving into online gaming, content and other value-added products based on the software systems to enthuse Indian audiences.

What factors are contributing to India being seen as a favourable destination for Chinese technology players?

Essentially, four key factors make India an attractive destination:

• India’s economic growth: As per a recent forecast by World Bank, the Indian economy will see a robust GDP growth of 7.3 per cent in 2018-19 and 7.5 per cent for the next two years.

• The rapid rise of network users: Industry reports predict that Internet penetration and smartphone proliferation in India may increase to over 90 per cent over the next few years.

• Demographic dividend: India is one of the few countries with a robust demographic dividend in the world representing a visibly higher proportion of the working population. It is indeed a market with a high volume of people having the potential to be productive and contribute effectively to the overall growth of the country’s economy.

• The government of India is actively promoting the digital transformation of India's economy and society. Digital India focuses on three key areas- infrastructure construction, government administration and service based on demand and digital empowerment of citizens. It also points out the nine pillar industries that support the digital transformation, including high-speed broadband, universal mobile connection, public network access projects, e-government, electronic services, comprehensive information technology, and development of electronic manufacturing, IT jobs and early demonstration projects.

What are your plans for the Indian market?

The Indian digital gaming industry is growing rapidly, with a host of global players investing in it. The Indian market has evolved to be one of the top five countries for mobile gaming in the world and is already worth over $890 million. As per a NASSCOM study, titled, “Mobile Gaming on the Rise in India”, the country’s mobile games market is expected to be worth $1.1 billion by 2020, with around 628 million users by then. The popularity of gaming is partly due to its increased accessibility. Many factors are driving the current phenomenon, for example, a large population in India still does not have access to the Internet, which is a huge market for us. We wish to tap into this market and its colossal user base, involving millennials, via mobile gaming.

About APUS

Founded in June 2014, APUS Group released its first product, APUS Launcher, on 2 July 2014. And by 2017, there has been more than 1 billion downloads for APUS System and APUS series products. APUS System connects global mobile users to the internet and provides all-in-one solutions for smartphone interaction management, application management and acquisition and social management. APUS Group has built a traffic entrance platform through APUS System, based on which the companycollaborates and invests in O2O business partners around the world for music, games, news, video, e-commerce, to name a few segments, to develop its content and business operation. APUS has also been supporting its business partners to explore the overseas market and building the APUS ecosystem. Since the latter half of 2015, APUS began building its big data platform, Nebula, through which APUS can receive detailed user image, contextual analysis, user habit and user needs under different circumstances. At the same time, APUS can help advertisers to present valuable ads to users with precision and improved conversion rate. With the self-constructed Nebula Platform, Orion AD System and APUS Ecosystem, APUS user volume and revenue have increased rapidly within two years of its launch.

As far as its user distribution is concerned, APUS System and APUS series products acquired over a billion users globally in more than 200 countries in 2017. 20 per cent of the users are from South Asia, 22 per cent from Southeast Asia, 13 per cent from South America, 12 per cent from Europe and Russia, 15 per cent from the Middle East, 8 per cent from North America, 7 per cent from Africa and 3 per cent from other countries and regions. The APUS System is available in 20 languages and the company plans to add regional languages to showcase its commitment to its users.

Its key product offerings include:

APUS Launcher- A lightweight Android operating system for. The launcher focuses on elevating the user experience by making the phone incredibly fast, smart andeasy to use.

APUS Messenger Center–It is a real all-in-one app includes message management, contact manager, phone dialer and call record.

APUS Booster+ - It is an optimization tool with booster, space cleaner and central processing unit (CPU) cooler, which ensures that the phone becomes faster, cleaner and smoother.  APUS Booster+ also comes with App Lock, which can help encrypt private, sensitive apps easily to secure user’s privacy.

APUS Flashlight–It is a small, free, super bright, the best LED flashlight app for Android phone and tablet. This is a torch app that stays on even if one closes the app or switch off screen.



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