Are you a new-age worker who is constantly looking for tools that best suit your evolving needs? We are in conversation with Om Buffalo, WPS Product Liaison for India, Kingsoft Office, telling us more about Kingsoft Office’s flagship software, WPS Office 2020. Excerpts:
DQ: Talk to us about Kingsoft’s global presence?
Om Buffalo: Part of the larger Kingsoft Group, Kingsoft Office is a leading office software and solutions provider having delivered office products and services in more than 200 countries. We have over 2000 employees and six research centers across the world.
Kingsoft Group went public on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007. All of its four companies now run independently with Lei Jun (CEO of Xiaomi) as the chairman and at the helm of affairs. Kingsoft counts 69 Chinese Fortune Global 500 companies and government bodies in more than 30 provinces as its customers.
WPS Office 2020 is the latest international version of Kingsoft Office’s flagship all-in-one office software suite, available in free and premium versions. It includes four software: Writer, Presenter, Spreadsheet, and PDF. It is light on devices, fully compatible with all mainstream office formats, and supports all the major platforms. It allows cross-device synchronization as well. It is built for new-age workers who are constantly looking for tools that best suit their evolving needs.
The suite is specially designed to run seamlessly on Apple/MacOS devices. The software has over 310 million monthly active users (140+ million mobile users) across the world. This includes individuals, enterprises, and government agencies. It already has over 23 million MAU (monthly active users) in India, acquired via organic downloads and pre-installations.
DQ: You claim to have 23 million monthly active users in India. Why have you decided now to officially enter the Indian market? What are your plans for the Indian market?
Om Buffalo: India is our biggest market after China, and therefore we decided to announce the global launch of WPS Office 2020 in India. In terms of business, we are aiming to double users by end of the year. To help us achieve that goal, we have already established a permanent team in India, primarily focused on operations and sales. As we scale our business here, we will definitely hire more for various functions and especially from the amazing IT talent pool in India.
As we expand, we are also going to shift a part of our R&D, which is focused on localization, to India. In addition, one third of the total $300 million that we plan to raise in our upcoming IPO, will be dedicated to developing global markets, including a large amount earmarked for India.
Our primary strategy in the market is localization in terms of our product, operations and so on. WPS Office 2020 is already available in Hindi and going forward we plan to add more Indian languages. We also have customized templates with Indian designs and are working with local designers to add more. Of course, we are exploring partnerships, but we are focused on individual users at this point.
For example, our new Mac version was designed specifically for consumer Mac users. Currently, we are marketing the product online via our website and app stores where users can choose from a free or a Premium version priced at just $29.99.
DQ: How do you plan to challenge the legacy that MS Office has enjoyed in the Indian market?
Om Buffalo: India is diverse with people from varying cultural, social and economic backgrounds and we understand that each user is different, including the way they work. As more and more people join the workforce, they are looking for convenient, high-quality and effective tools that suit their needs. While many Office software exist in the market, most are either high-priced or they lack the potential to cater to the needs of the dynamic worker.
In addition, research has shown alarming levels of piracy in the country, owing to high-priced software, including office software suites, which people are unable to readily access, or are using old versions that lack the most up-t-date features. We want to tell all these users that there is an alternative — WPS Office, which is highly efficient, with more features, and is either free or available in a highly affordable premium version. The software suite is also specially designed to run seamlessly on Apple/MacOS devices, a challenge that most MacOS users have faced with other suites in the market.
Keeping India’s diversity in mind, we are also focusing a lot on localization to cater to the varying needs of various user segments. For us, this is a challenge but at the same time, our biggest opportunity. While is going to be tough to understand users, understanding the local market, building a local ecosystem and so on; but we care about the users and that is what sets us apart from other players whose primary offerings are on one-size-fits-all models.
We already have over 23 million active monthly users in India and we are sure that more users will start realizing the full potential of the product as they try the free version and eventually opt for the premium version. To further boost the uptake, we will continue to partner with device manufacturers for pre-installations.
DQ: What is the product differentiator when you say it is platform agnostic? What are the main user benefits, especially for Mac users?
Om Buffalo: WPS Office 2020 is built to serve the new age workforce of professionals, students, and freelancers, who are constantly looking for tools that best suit their evolving needs but also at an affordable price. WPS Office 2020 suite is light on your device, which saves valuable storage space; it is fully compatible with all mainstream office formats so that users don’t have to worry about installing multiple office suites to share or collaborate. It also has cloud backup, dark-mode, supports all major platforms and allows cross-device synchronization for users who are on-the-go.
The premium version can be accessed from upto nine devices. The suite includes a PDF software so that users don’t have to look for additional tools to work with PDFs, such as PDF to word or image to PDF conversions. The suite also features massive libraries of free pre-built templates and an intuitive tab-style interface, perfect for users to quickly and easily prepare perfect looking documents that showcase their unique styles. When it comes to Mac Os, most users have found it challenging to use other Office software suites. WPS Office 2020 is specially designed to run seamlessly on Apple/MacOS devices, with an all-in-one tab-style intuitive interface, supporting all file formats.
DQ: How do you plan to fight the rampant piracy of software?
Om Buffalo: Our fully-functional free version and highly-affordable premium version ensures that office software users never have to look for pirated software.
DQ: What will be your online/offline strategy? Who are your partners in the smartphones and laptop ecosystem?
Om Buffalo: Globally, our business is divided into B2B and B2C segments. In India, we are focused on doubling the 23+ million existing user-base by the end of 2019. Currently, we have made the product available on app stores for mobile and on our official website where users can download the free version or purchase the premium version.
WPS Office also comes pre-installed on multiple smartphone brands, including Oppo, Vivo, Xiaomi and OnePlus.
- Aanchal Ghatak