Mxit confident about smartphone future

South African chat app Mxit does not regard increasing smartphone use as a threat to its existing platform success in the country, though it acknowledges this reality as a growing challenge.

Vincent Maher, vice president of growth and product strategy at Mxit, revealed the company is working towards bringing all users’ experience of the application in line with the Android smartphone experience, regardless of the users’ device or operating system.

Although Maher admitted it to be a challenge, he does not view it as a major concern.

“We don’t really know where we will be at. It will be a critical moment in the story. We will either top or fade away.”

He continued: “A lot of intelligent people are thinking about it all the time,” referring to the Mxit development team.

Maher countered defeating rumours doing the rounds regarding Mxit’s popularity.

He said the generation of users the service was initially launched to, have grown up now, taking the app with them through school to university.

Regarding Mxit’s position as the leading South African chat network, he referred to the latest active user statistics for South Africa, which stand at 6.3 million per month, 4.5 million per week and 2.6 million per day.

The monthly active users equate to about 14 per cent of the South African population count.

Population spread usage breaks down to 54 per cent black, 26 per cent mixed-race, 13 per cent white and seven per cent Indian users.

With the app running on a variety of 3,000 devices, four of the five most popular handsets users chat from are Nokias, namely the X2, 5130, C1-0 and 710 models, with the fifth being the Samsung SGH-E250.

Also available in African countries such as Nigeria, the Nokia 5130 is the most popular device used for Mxit chats.

Despite competition from similar apps such as BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), WhatsApp and WeChat, recently launched in South Africa, Mxit is currently the country’s biggest social network.

First launched on Android in August 2009, Mxit 6.4 is the latest version available for the platform as released last month.

Maher also pointed out that there were generally no negative user comments from the first 80 million screen views received with the Android launch, which in his opinion is quite an achievement in for this “insanely big number”.

HumanIPO reported on today’s (Friday, March 1) release of Mxit Launch, a drag-and-drop mobile app building tool and community content managing service

Maher spoke as a guest speaker at the 27dinner on February 27 in Cape Town.

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