Johnny Li, Vice President, Cheetah Mobile on Digital Advertising Prospects

Cheeta Mobile

Cheetah Mobile is a mobile app technology driven company headquartered in Beijing, China. It was founded seven years back and started operating in India in the end of 2013. Since January 2017, it has more than 634 million monthly active users with 80% coming from China. In 2013, India was already being viewed as one of the most important markets for Cheetah’s global edition and in February 2015, it set-up the local office in Delhi and Bangalore. My Mobile’s Nijhum Rudra interacted with Johnny Li, the Vice President at Cheetah Mobile about the prospects of mobile/digital advertisement and the steps taken by Cheetah Mobile to make it a successful offering in the market.

Can you please describe your business model in India and how do you intend to expand this market?

First of all we have to look at the product and its quality. Now, we have three products in India of which one is the Utility app, Clean Master or CM security. In India almost 98% of the users still using the android phone and the grave issues they face are low storage and low lifetime of the battery. In the utility app, we offer clean master security that helps in removing unnecessary junk files while optimizing the phone. The second one is utility, which is also for the content similar to DailyHunt and in the beginning of last year, we have started working with the local Indian media like TOI, like Hindustan these media and also we have news aggregator app named News Republic. Third, we also offer another important app, for live video casting.

What are the biggest challenges in this space?

In digital advertising space, Facebook and Google are the major players in the market. They have good technology and the positive thing is that they also have a massive inventory, which helps them earn majority of the money. Moreover, they keep some very interesting policies in their ecosystem that ultimately leads the innovation.

But for small media companies, small media developers, the question appear is, ‘how can we survive’ and ‘how innovation can happen’? This has turned out to be a huge challenge for them. Secondly, they cannot always survive by the investors’ money and have to earn money by themselves. The third important hurdle is to find out more innovative products that can diversify the needs of smartphone users.

What is Cheetah Mobile’s role in driving mobile advertising in the e-commerce segment?

Most of our apps now focus on utility. Couple of month back we have provided the weather forecast for users during summers in India, which is extremely scorching. This survey insisted Amazon to approach us for a digital advertising campaign. They thought that the digital advertisements would augment the selling of Air Conditioners in the nation. After we recorded this with press, we discussed how we could get people to accept the campaigns or the apps. Apps sometimes work and sometimes do not. Therefore, we came up with a very innovative idea. We posted the temperature and weather beside the image of the ACs that gave a very high click rate. Amazon is now successful in selling their Air Conditioners in India.

What is your biggest differentiating aspect in the advertising space?

Innovation is the foremost aspect that is leading Cheetah mobile way ahead of its competitor. First, we deeply understand the pain points of our customers and then we prepare solutions for them, make it user-friendly and easy to use. We do this not for the end users, but also for the advertisers. Cheetah offer deep insights to our customers before suggesting them solutions. Our company tries to ensure a better user experience through our products but cater services to the advertisers as well.

Can you please elucidate your roadmap in the coming years?

Due to massive growth 3G and 4G networks in India and the increased usage of smartphone has led Cheetah mobile to commence its operation in India. Over the past two years, Cheetah mobile has always considered India as the most preferred destination for its new product launch. In the coming two years, we want to understand more of what Indian smartphone user needs. We are now craving for more knowledge about Indian users from our local India team so that we can easily set up a fruitful business in the country.

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