New MXit CEO lays out strategy

2012-02-15 11:36

Cape Town - MXit will focus on its core competencies, and open the platform to third parties to develop content for its users, the new CEO has said.

In his first briefing with the media since buying social network MXit, CEO Alan Knott-Craig jnr said that the company would focus on communication, payments and content.

"We create the platform, and let people make money. We'll just stick to what we're good at," Knott-Craig told News24.

MXit has over 50 million registered users and about 35 000 new registrations daily, and said that it was different to when the company was a start-up.

"When MXit started it was started in a context where they were under a lot of threat. There were lots of dirty tricks going on behind the scenes.

"That engendered a mentality of paranoia and I'm in the fortunate position to come in where the telcos don't see these things as a threat anymore; we can actually partner now with banks and telcos and it allow me to be very transparent," he said.

User experience

Part of the changes to the structure is that MXit will focus on core strengths and look to establish partnerships to grow.

"When you've got people using your application already, you can get people hooked into the payment stuff," said Knott-Craig.

When MXit was launched in 1997, the company had a primarily young demographic that was attracted to cheaper costs for mobile chatting. Today though, only 25% of registered users are in the 13 to 17 age group, but the company doesn't believe that alternative platforms threaten it yet.

"When you're young, you want to chat; when you're older, you don't have time to chat, but now you've got money so you want to pay. This is starting to pull back an older demographic definitely in our company, and we're starting to see it here," said Knott-Craig.

He said that if the company can build an attractive user experience across multiple platforms, it would create more opportunities to sell digital content like games.

"We're not going to make money, charging people for conversation or charging them to make payments. But by getting them in, hooking them in on the chat, we'll make it easier for us to sell digital content."

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  • markvandiggelen - 2012-02-15 11:51

    Really glad to see this change in mentality, there are a lot of developers keen to partner with Mxit, but in the past it was almost impossible to get involved, the old guard really wasn't very approachable.

      padayachee - 2012-02-15 12:43

      This was out for sometime already... way before the new CEO

  • John - 2012-02-15 12:07

    I wonder it the "web service" will be a web service this time :)

  • lesetja.mogoba - 2012-02-15 12:24

    Hi Alan, congratulations first and fore-most. Any strategy specific thoughts on Eskimi from Activesec, WhatsApp and device supported subscription models (BBM)? Do you plan to make inroads into B2C (mobile to desktop leverage) facilities as a propeller into the formal market? Shall there be plans to integrate Mxit into the web in the distant future?

      padayachee - 2012-02-15 12:43

      web version -

  • reza.daniels1 - 2012-02-15 15:27

    Glad I do not use it...... I cannot stand the "language". I cringe every time I see a message written in MXIT lingo.

  • clownpantsville - 2012-02-15 16:26

    sorry to say this mxit, but you are screwed. bbm and whatsapp have raped you.

  • charl.norman - 2012-02-15 16:43

    Check out our interview with Alan here: MXit has lots of territories they can attack to find growth. The dumb/feature phone market is still growing and MXit is one of a few IM platforms available on almost all handsets. They have a great footprint.

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