Mxit is struggling to compete against international mobile messaging services like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and WeChat.
According to research from World Wide Worx, the number of active Mxit users in South Africa declined from 7.4 million in September 2013 to 4.9 million in September 2014.
This decline seems to have continued in recent months. According to a well-placed industry source, Mxit fell below 1 million active users on one of SA’s largest mobile networks.
The active subscribers on this network, the source said, continues to decline by as much as 10% per month.
When Mxit was acquired for close to R400 million by World of Avatar in 2011, then CEO Alan Knott-Craig Jnr had high hopes for the company.
“It’s pretty good value and if it’s one-tenth of the things we think we’re going to come off, then we should be smiling,” he said.
However, three years later Mxit is struggling to stop its subscribers moving to WhatsApp, WeChat, and other IM platforms.
MyBroadband asked Mxit about its latest subscriber numbers and financial information, but the company would not provide feedback on this.
“We are a private company and don’t disclose financial information,” said Ben-Carl Havemann, Mxit’s marketing and communications manager.
He did say that, from a commercial perspective, the business had enjoyed significant growth over the past year.
“Of the top 10 advertisers in the country, 8 have a presence on Mxit, and in many cases their communities have quickly grown into the hundreds of thousands, far exceeding other social media platforms,” said Havemann.