WeChat, a messaging service of the Chinese Internet portal giant Tencent, is targeting the African market, posing threats to South African service Mxit.
South African based Murray International Holdings (MIH) has appointed Brett Loubser, former Business Development Dead at Samsung Electronics in South Africa, as Chinese social app WeChat’s African specialist, according to TechCentral, signifying a strategic step towards market penetration of the Asian app.
WeChat is well funded and has a large technical team to drive their application into the African market with full force. It serves the same target market as WhatsApp and Mxit, but has an edge over WhatsApp with its video calling features.
Chat app WhatsApp seems to be a stronger competitor than Mxit, which has approximately 50 million users across the African continent. WhatsApp has boasted a new record of eight billion messages on one day on 31 December 2012.
“Good to see successful international players try their hands in the local market,” Vincent Maher, Chief Marketing Officer at Mxit told Tech Central. “The simple messaging space is getting competitive, so we should start to see some good innovation here, which is always good for consumers.”
WeChat runs on Android, BlackBerry, iOS phones, Windows Phone and is available online.
WhatsApp has gained a large part of the market because of its ability to run on a wide array of mobile phones, whereas BlackBerry Messengers (BBM) has struggled to compete because of its device restrictions.
China-based Tencent has 784 million subscribers to its QQ instant messaging system.
WeChat was rolled out in 2011 as Weixin (micro chat) and promoted in 2012 under the name WeChat. Mxit, based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, was controlled by shareholder Naspers until 2011 and is now owned by World of Avatar.