Mxit scores as millions download new version

Cape Town - Millions of people have downloaded the new version of Mxit, despite declining numbers, the company announced on Wednesday.

"More than 7.4 million users have installed Mxit 7 since its release in November 2013, 55% of those are still active, and there is a notable increase in the proportional share of smart devices on the platform," the Stellenbosch-based company said as it released its annual Insight Pack.

The number of active monthly users on the platform declined to 4.9 million from 6.9 million.

Mxit was the dominant instant messaging application which disrupted the SMS market when it emerged.

However, the emergence of smartphones and global competitors have seen the local platform come under pressure despite a healthy ecosystem.

User engagement

But Mxit has been racing to build increased functionality and change its feature phone image to be more smartphone friendly in recent times.

"The brand's extremely data-light chat functionality remains the biggest draw card, and the average daily time per user on the platform has increased from 95 to 105 minutes. Almost 70% of users engage with brand apps while more than 60% access news and sport content on a daily basis," Mxit said.

During the last election cycle, Mxit interaction rivalled that of Facebook and Twitter as users engaged with political parties and leadership on issues related to the vote.

While the African National Congress has 162 000 Facebook fans and 124 00 followers on Twitter, the party has over 440 000 subscribers on Mxit.

Mxit's Insight Pack revealed that the platform is a commercial alternative with eight of the 10 top advertisers active on the social network.

"There simply is no easier way to start a conversation with millions of young people in South Africa," said Francois Swart, Mxit CEO.

The company has also moved forward with its operations in India, Nigeria and will soon be available in 22 languages.

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