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Alan Knott-Craig JnrAlan Knott-Craig Jnr

The recent buyout of Africa’s largest mobile social media network, MXit, has brought about a change in the company’s strategy, as well as structure, which will see job losses.

World of Avatar, headed by technology entrepreneur Jnr, who bought out erstwhile MXit shareholder MIH Holdings – a subsidiary – announced the Stellenbosch-based social platform would see 19 retrenchments. While Knott-Craig said at the time of the acquisition that no retrenchments were expected, he recently said that World of Avatar’s existing system meant a duplication of certain designations. “World of Avatar had an infrastructure in place already, which made certain positions unnecessary.”

The move, he says, is based purely on infrastructure practicality and would see the workforce reduced to 121 employees.

In terms of future plans for MXit, Knott-Craig said at the time of the buyout that the short-term would see World of Avatar striving to maintain MXit’s growth and position as the largest mobile social network in Africa.

“This means a focus on consolidating and strengthening the core of the business, before we move to implement the long-term strategy.” World of Avatar bought 90% of MXit for an undisclosed amount in September. The network’s founder, unis, relinquished his entire stake in the company. The remaining 10% share will stay in a staff trust established by Heunis in 2005.

Knott-Craig says MXit is still enjoying substantial activity and growth. “MXit sees on average 700 million to 800 million messages each day. This is significant if you consider that sees 25 million SMSes being sent per day and Twitter 200 million messages a day, globally.”

A future plan for the social network platform, he says, is the redevelopment of its application programming interface. “We want to make it easier for third-party developers to hook into MXit and enhance the user’s experience of MXit on smartphones and the Internet.”

MXit has about 44 million registered users, with 11 million of this base being active.