Mobile messaging apps are growing in the country. With Whatsapp as the clear winner for now, there is still enough room for a few more to join the party and grab the second slot in the country. South African mobile messaging company Mxit is the new entry in India, along with players like WeChat, Hike, Line, Viber all fighting for a firmer ground. Founded in Stellenbosch, South Africa, in 2005 the app also announced former Indian coach Gary Kirsten as its brand ambassador.
The official launch took place yesterday at the Taj Krishna Hotel, Hyderabad, a city where Mxit’s Indian headquarters are located. Gary who considers India as his other home, has been quite excited about Mxit’s India launch.
Good news – heading back to India today for the official launch of #MxitIndia. Bringing the homegrown Mxit to my other home away from home!
— Gary Kirsten (@Gary_Kirsten) January 26, 2014
— Gary Kirsten (@Gary_Kirsten) January 27, 2014
According to YourStory, the Mxit Indian team in Hyderabad has been working under stealth mode for the past one year. The company that has nearly 10 million monthly active users in Africa, is developing a localised Mxit with support for vernacular languages like Hindi as of now. Plans are in place to add another 11 regional languages over the next six months.
At the event, the company highlighted that it would be focusing on the feature phone market along with the smartphone market. While talking to the press, Sam Rufus CEO of Mxit alienated the fear of competing with Facebook in India, instead he said, “We complement each other.”
Apart from pure messaging, Mxit has some interesting features like Chat Cards – lightweight html 5 web apps or games that can be sent, received and opened within conversations. Along with a consumer model, there is an enterprise section too with products that could help brands and NGOs. For instance Mxit Glue can be used by political parties to communicate with constituencies and measure the impact, Mxit Reach as a CRM counseling platform and Mxit Launch as a publishing platform for creating pages on Mxit; these could be great incentives to the enterprise community.
While we review Mxit and bring you the hits and misses of the app, it would be interesting to watch how the app – that is investing extensively in different forms of marketing – finds acceptance in the country. Gary was a strong force behind the Indian cricketing team lifting the World Cup last year but will he be able to do the same for Mxit?
On a side note it was interesting to see Mxit not going for a Bollywood heartthrob as its brand ambassador like WeChat and Line have done in the country. But then cricket is only next to Bollywood here!