Local social network Mxit has exited its Indian and Nigerian markets as the business shuts down its commercial operations, writes GARETH VAN ZYL.
Mxit had a high-profile launch in India at the beginning of 2014 which included cricketing star Gary Kirsten as the face of the social network’s marketing campaign in that country.
In November 2013 at Cape Town based technology conference AfricaCom, Vincent Maher, Mxit’s chief product officer at the time, said that the company was looking to markets such as India and Nigeria as the company’s next biggest growth areas.
However, Mxit announced on Friday that it is exiting its commercial business in South Africa and donating its assets and intellectual property to a public benefit organisation dubbed ‘The Reach Trust’.
And along with this move, Mxit confirmed that it has exited its India and Nigeria operations.
“In 2014, Mxit tested the efficacy of through-the-line marketing efforts in India and Nigeria. Although the brand could quickly acquire users, the long-term growth prospects in these highly competitive markets were carefully reviewed at the end of 2014, and compared to the on-going investment it would require to retain users,” read a statement from Mxit on Friday.
“In the beginning of 2015, the Group shifted its focus back to Southern Africa, and marketing activities in both of these markets ended.
“Most of the team that was employed by Mxit India for the marketing pilot was absorbed by GluePlus, which is not formally related to Mxit in any way,” said Mxit.
GluePlus describes itself on its website as an IT software development company with product and consulting divisions.
Sam Rufus Nallaraj, former Mxit India chief operating officer, is the CEO of GluePlus.
Mxit has exited its commercial business amid falling user numbers in South Africa, the market where it first started operations.
In 2013, Mxit reported over 6 million monthly active users in South Africa. But that figure has dropped to 1.2 million by July 2015 amid competition from other social networks such as WhatsApp and Facebook.
The Reach Trust is set to use Mxit’s technology to provide education and social services to people within Southern Africa.