Mobile social network MXit gains momentum in Africa

Digital Content

Instant messaging giant MXit cements its place as Africa’s most powerful youth mobile social network by exceeding 11 million users and becoming the number one method of communicating with youth. “Being able to connect to the Internet from a mobile phone is critical in a world that is relying more-and-more on not merely existing online, but also engaging actively.

MXit transcends international borders, race and financial barriers and allows users to relate to one another in a manner that is based on friendship, networking and even learning,” says Juan du Toit, marketing manager for MXit.

According to the company, the global market for mobile internet will increase from 578 million users in 2008 to over 1,712 million in 2013. This is a whopping growth of 196%. Of the eight global regions, Africa and the Middle East will see the second largest increase in mobile internet users (414%).

“We are happy with our growth, but our target is firmly set on becoming one of the biggest instant messaging mobile networks in the world and the preferred mobile social network for communicating with young people in Africa and globally,” says Du Toit, marketing manager for MXit.

The company has its sights set on increasing its footprint in Africa and Asia and has already attracted more than 1.2 million Indonesian users. International NGOs and learning institutions are aligning with the platform to communicate educational, environmental and social corporate investment initiatives - and if you consider that 86% of the 19 to 24 year market in South Africa alone has a mobile phone, or that 53% of the population is under 24, it makes complete sense.

“It isn’t rocket science, for us it’s simply understanding the mobile environment and the opportunity and providing something that will excite our users,” explains Du Toit. “Initially, there was a need to establish a fun and fresh platform where MXit users could communicate cheaply. Africa, and especially South Africa, has some of the most expensive mobile rates in the world, but with MXit there is just about no charge for sending messages.”

There are in excess of 3 billion mobile users globally, and according to Nielsen/NetRating, the next billion are expected to use their mobile phones to access the internet for the first time. Social networking platforms grew by 47% in the year ending April 2008. According to Juniper Research, the value of the user generated content market will grow from USD$1.1 billion in 2007 to USD$7.3 billion in 2013.

The company is rolling out a series of products that will enhance its usability and increase its penetration into the global market. This includes MXit for BlackBerry and iPhone, as well as the ability to synchronise its network by adding other popular instant messaging contacts such as ICQ, MSN and Yahoo messenger to the MXit profile.