Once Africa’s Largest Social Media Network Mxit to ‘Close’

STELLENBOSCH – The South African mobile social network Mxit, once dubbed the largest social network in Africa, has closed down commercial operations after a decade in business, according to news reports.

All of Mxit’s intellectual property and technology assets will be donated to independent public benefit organisation The Reach Trust. Reports said that Mxit, which was launched in 2005, had failed to increase users while platforms like Whatsapp and Facebook had grown immensely.

While most news reports said that Mxit had effectively shut down, the trust said in a statement on Friday, “The organisational changes will not affect the mobile social network, and users will still be able to access and use all its services.”

Mxit was apparently the first mobile messenger in the world, giving a generation of millennials the opportunity to engage with one another in a cost-effective way. In 2007 Naspers bought 30 percent of the company but exited in 2011.

In 2012, it was reported that Mxit had 10 million users in South Africa, outpacing Facebook and Twitter at the time, with 6 million and 1.1 million users respectively. A Mxit statement on Friday said its active users had dropped to 1.2 million by July 2015.

Mxit also has operations in India and Nigeria, which will also close.

According to the Reach Trust website, it has helped more than 10 million people transform their lives through access to free education, health and counselling services on their mobile phones.