26 February 2007
South African instant messaging service MXit has attracted more than three million users in under two years. Now, with buy-in from local media giant Naspers, the company is setting its sights on the international market.
According to a company statement, MXit registered its three-millionth user on 29 January, is growing at a rate of between 9 000 and 12 000 new users a day, and is one of the largest generators of general packet radio service (GPRS) traffic in the country.
“Our user base currently logs on to our servers more than six million times per day and the total traffic between our servers, mobile phones and other gateways is well over 500 million packets a day,” says CEO Herman Heunis, the Stellenbosch University graduate who created MXit Lifestyle in May 2005.
“We are continually upgrading our servers and our ongoing commitment to infrastructure growth is massive.”
Heunis expects the numbers to increase rapidly once the company rolls out its foreign operations.
“We have recently established a premium rated payment gateway in the UK, as well as permanent infrastructure in USA, and are looking forward to an extended international presence by the end of 2007.”
In December, the company launched a greeting card service featuring unique content over, sending over 660 000 cards at a cost of 10 cents a card.
“To our knowledge, we offer the only service in South Africa where users can send greetings cards from their mobile phones via an instant messaging system,” says Heunis.
Naspers buys in
Such has been MXit’s growth that South African multinational media group Naspers bought a 30% stake in the company for an undisclosed sum in January.
Naspers has interests in print, pay-TV and internet operations in Africa, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Greece.
“We are very excited about teaming up with a South African company that has such an extensive global footprint, not only in media but other technology sectors,” says Heunis.
Heunis told Business Report that Naspers’s involvement in the company meant it could now expand into other countries at a faster pace than previously planned.
According to Business Report, MXit aims to have 50 million customers internationally by the end of 2008. It currently has 400 000 international users.