Naspers moves into mobile networking

2 September 2008

BuzzCity, a developer of global mobile communities and consumer services, has secured US$10-million (about R78-million) in growth capital to help extend the market share of its core property, myGamma.com and its network of websites, from South African media giant Naspers.

The company, headquartered in Singapore, aims to grow the membership base of myGamma, a social networking website aimed primarily at mobile users.

It also aims to develop more user-generated content through member services and applications, to invest in applications aimed at maximising partnership opportunities, and to grow myGamma’s portfolio of advertising clients.

“The growth opportunity for off-deck services continues to grow globally,” BuzzCity chief executive KF Lai said in a statement last week.

“We’ve seen phenomenal growth in markets in South Asia and Africa, and in the coming year we expect to see this growth to include markets in Europe and USA.”

Lai said that the common footprint that existed between BuzzCity and Naspers turned the deal into a strategic relationship for both companies to develop their media products, particularly in emerging markets like South Africa, India and Thailand.

Over the past year, BuzzCity has been on an aggressive development programme, securing overwhelming interest from business, including some of the world’s leading wireless access protocol publishers and mobile digital agencies, who want to be a part of the company’s growth plans.

“Users clearly love what BuzzCity is offering – the number of users has grown exponentially, and traffic to myGamma network of partner sites has exceeded six billion page views in the first six months of 2008,” Lai said.

User-generated content

Juniper Research recently predicted that the number of mobile phone users globally will increase from 577-million to 1.7-billion by 2013, with applications such as social networking and user-generated content being key drivers for this growth.

“The market opportunity for BuzzCity is clear,” said Juniper Research analyst Ian Chard. “BuzzCity’s ‘myGamma’ community has made stunning headway in the mobile social networking space, reaching 2.7-million users across 70 countries.”

As an off-deck application, Chard said that BuzzCity had successfully applied the direct-to-consumer business model in an operator-dominated market, and established a strong advertising base that hit 1.7 billion paid ad impressions in July 2008 alone.

“Furthermore, myGamma serves two distinct audiences – the newly-connected emerging middle class in developing markets, and blue-collar users in developed regions – making it a shining example of how the social web can span demographic, as well as geographic divides,” Chard said.

SAinfo reporter

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