Mxit Africa's best web app ever, says ex-boss

Johannesburg - Instant messaging service Mxit is the best web application ever to be created in Africa, according to Alan Knott-Craig Jnr.

Knott-Craig Jnr previously headed up wireless provider iBurst and mobile social network Mxit.

But Knott-Craig Jnr – who is the son of ex-Vodacom chief executive Alan Knott-Craig – quit as Mxit and World of Avatar CEO in October 2012 amid differences with shareholders.

World of Avatar bought a 90% stake in Stellenbosch-based Mxit in 2011 from MIH Holdings, a Naspers subsidiary, and  Mxit founder Herman Heunis.

“I must be honest, firstly, Mxit is the most successful web application to ever come out of the continent of Africa,” Knott-Craig Jnr told News24 Live.

“It’s something that all South Africans should be proud of; we were very lucky to get our hands on it,” he said.

Knott-Craig’s high praise for Mxit comes as the instant messaging service has struggled to compete against US rival WhatsApp.

Last year, Mxit said it had 4.9 million users - a fall from 6.5 million users in 2013.

According to World Wide Worx and Fuseware, WhatsApp has 10 million users in SA.

Despite only heading up Mxit for a year, Knott-Craig Jnr told News24 Live that he believed the “path that we were travelling was a good path”.

“I wish I had a little bit more time to give it a go and kind of prove to myself that South Africans had the ability to compete with the likes of WhatsApp.

“But in effect I believe Mxit was WeChat and WeChat found a way to compete with the big American giants - it wasn’t squashed,” said Knott-Craig Jnr.

Knott-Craig Jnr now heads up non-profit Wi-Fi service Project Isizwe and this week announced plans to launch a data-only network dubbed HeroTel in 2016.

Watch News24 Live's interview with Knott-Craig Jnr:

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