Cheki car classified site seeks Swahili to draw more buyers

Kenya-based car dealer website Cheki.co.ke, established in 2010 in English, is set to launch a Swahili version of an East African online car marketplace to “reach a wider audience.”

Apart from launching in Nigeria Cheki.com.ng and presently ranking in the top 20 Nigerian content websites, Cheki has been the top car classifieds website in Kenya and claims to have over 21,000 cars listed — from Kenyan second hand cars dealers and used Japanese car dealers across the country.

Carey Eaton , Nairobi-based Cheki Africa Managing Director said that offering East African car buyers an easy way to connect to sellers in a local language is an important step in enhancing the car dealer’s goal of making it easier for car buyers and sellers to connect with each other.

The Swahili pilot of Cheki was earlier this year released in Tanzania. The sites developer also released its Swahili mobile and Web browser sites in the Swahili speaking Tanzania.

Swahili is the default language rather than English in the Kenya. According to Cheki, they were initially leaving out the country’s wider market.

The new features are constantly updated on both the mobile and the Web portals.

Eaton says the expansion of Cheki’s language capability also involved an update to the core architecture of its technology platform to enable multiple local language capabilities for other markets including its market-leading operations in Nigeria and potential expansion to Francophone Africa.

Eaton believes that the Swahili development is a show of the car dealer website’s move to Swahili regions as well as a move to integrate the language in the daily business processes.

The firm has since set up a Swahili language customer service and a sales team to ensure the company’s buyers and sellers.

In 2011, Cheki ranked among the top 10 Kenyan content websites. It expects its Swahili version to make them access more car buyers and enlist more dealers.
Cheki’s Android and Nokia Ovi mobile applications were also released in Swahili making the site the world’s first Swahili language classifieds’ only website.

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