Messaging app Mxit to target 500 million users in India

Written by Nandagopal Rajan | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 31 2014, 21:17pm hrs
MxitMxit India CEO Sam Rufus Nallaraj with chairman? Roger Grobler and former Indian cricket coach Gary Kirsten.
The world of messaging apps is getting very crowded and it is becoming increasingly hard for app makers to differentiate themselves. The latest to enter this race to offering a cheaper option to SMS and easier way to socialise, is South Africas Mxit.

The company thinks its strategy to get new users in the large Indian feature phone segment will set it apart from the rest of the pack. To its advantage is the fact that the app will work on almost all devices, except entry level mobile phones.

Mxit app

We are definitely aiming for the large middle segment which could be as large as 500 million users. So the app will first be promoted in smaller town of Andra Pradesh, Mxit India CEO Sam Rufus Nallaraj told The Indian Express. To cater to this segment, the app will also be able to send and receive message in Hindi. Soon we will have support for at least 10 Indian languages, he added.

The other interesting aspect of the app is that it leverage the power of the cloud to give some smartphone like features for its users. For instance, students will be able to use the app like a scientific calculator or periodic table with all the computing being done at the backend and not on the phone. We have this innovative app-in-app concept that lets them do all this. The same will be used by NGOs and non-profits to provide counselling and other services to users, explained Mxit chairman Roger Grobler.

Mxit1Mxit, which says it has been doing social networks much before Facebook, is already the largest player in South Africa commanding over 46 per cent of market with 6.5 million monthly average users. In fact, the app is used by UNICEF and others to provide services to subscribers and even send text books in ebook format to students in South Africa, Grobler explained.

The company has appointed South African cricket legend and former India coach Gary Kirsten and brand ambassador.

While we have a lot of common factors, there are topics like cricket that are popular in both countries. Our idea has always been to generate those conversations revolving around topics, added Nallaraj, who was one of the semi-finalists in the reality show Apprentice Asia.

The app can be download on popular apps stores, or directly from or by texting MXIT to 57333.