Vodacom clicks onto social networking

16 July 2008

Vodacom, South Africa’s largest cellular network by subscriber numbers, has diversified into the multimedia market with the acquisition of a 40% stake in Zoopy.com, a local social networking and community website.

Zoopy.com, which was launched in March 2007, allows its users to upload and share videos, photographs, podcasts and blogs.

Vodacom said that the social networking website had taken less than a year to establish itself as a significant player in the user-generated content space in Africa.

Nokia, the world’s largest cellphone manufacturer, selected Zoopy.com as their regional imaging partner for South and West Africa, while more recently, the Mail & Guardian chose the website as its online video delivery partner.

Vodacom Ventures MD Tlhabeli Ralebitso said the investment was an important move, which came at “just the right time” for both parties.

“Zoopy.com has established itself as a key role-player in the online social media arena and has a growing community that will now be able to grow bigger, better and faster,” he said in a statement last month.

“Vodacom puts great value in what has been achieved online thus far, and we look forward to combining mobile and internet strengths to create an even more valuable destination for all Zoopy.com users.”

Perfect partner

Zoopy.com CEO Jason Elk said that the website had been looking for a specific partner to help the fledgling company implement its strategy to the fullest.

While funding was an important requirement, Elk said that they also wanted to ensure that the new investor would add value to the overall Zoopy.com user experience.

“With Vodacom at our side, we’ll be able to bring many new features and opportunities to both their users and ours,” he said. “This is exactly what we were looking for and we can’t wait to make it happen.”

SAinfo reporter

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