Here’s the press release from the event that I attended earlier today in Cape Town. I’ll have the full details, reports and most likely an interview with three senior staff members from MXit up in the next couple of days.

MXit today launched a beta version of its API (application programming interface), which gives entrepreneurs/software developers the ability to create social, commercial, entertainment, gaming, social upliftment and other applications for the vast user base of MXit worldwide.

The launch not only opens a commercial door for people wanting to engage with users of one of the continent’s largest mobile media platforms, but it has the potential to provide a lucrative revenue stream.

“This is perhaps the most exciting chapter in MXit’s history as a mobile social network and time will tell where this new evolution will take us,” says Herman Heunis, CEO and founder of MXit.  “The launch of the API allows software developers/entrepreneurs, from anywhere in the world, with a brilliant idea or concept to create unique applications for our users. The main obstacles normally facing entrepreneurs in the mobile space, such as support for countless different phones, marketing of their application(s), revenue collection and secure billing, are all taken care of as we not only support more than 2,500 different mobile handsets, but also have our own virtual currency, MXit Moola.

As an entrepreneurial spirited company, it is important to us that entrepreneurs who engage with us are rewarded with a revenue share, which could be as much as 70% (after cost). By opening MXit for external application development, the social network is effectively giving entrepreneurs/developers an opportunity to use their creativity to extend their business or software development to a mobile community that has a natural affinity for social interaction.  Paramount to this is protection of our users and we will screen external applications carefully to ensure they fall within our brand values”.

Heunis continues, “It’s all about creating applications that will excite or fulfill a definite need to the community.  Our aim, as always, is to ensure that our users are consistently delighted by our platform and its capabilities; and this is illustrated by the way MXit has evolved from an instant messaging platform in the early days to a mobile social network that incorporates vast communities that use MXit to enhance their lifestyles.”

How to develop applications for MXit:

An external developer will need to register with MXit at code.mxit.com.

Once registered and logged in for the first time, a test application name and password will be issued to connect the test application to MXit. This will allow developers to become familiar with all aspects of creating an application on MXit’s platform.

Prior to actual development of an application, the concept needs to be approved by MXit to ensure it falls within the MXit brand guidelines and is applicable to its user base.

Once approved and developed, the application will be hosted by the developer

What this means for the MXit community:

An application library will enable users to select and try out submitted applications from a constantly updated menu list.  Users will pay for an application or virtual goods within the application using MXit Moola – unless the application is free or has sponsored advertising within it.

Proof of concept

MXit has launched some prototypes that are already proving popular with their community; for example, tiXi, a time-based, multi-player educational word game that allows users to compete against each other by compiling words from random letters.

Thousands of games are started every day in English, Afrikaans and numerals.  A game lasts 10 minutes, a user has 60 seconds to enter a game, and any number of users can start simultaneously.

Users invite friends from their contact list to participate, thus increasing the game’s social impact.

About MXit

MXit is a global mobile social networking application that allows users to chat on mobile and PC from anywhere in the world.  It is fast becoming the preferred mobile social network for communicating with young people in Africa.

MXit does not charge for the sending and receiving of multimedia messages as it uses the internet rather than the more costly standard SMS technology.

MXit delights its users by continuously unveiling social networking applications in entertainment, lifestyle features and communication that enrich the lives of its users.  This commitment towards innovation is the cornerstone of its success.

MXit started as a mobile games developer and first introduced mobile instant messaging to South Africa in 2005.  In this way, MXit crossed the boundaries of affordable communication and connected people across the globe.

To download MXit:

Open your mobile browser, type in m.mxit.com and simply follow the prompts.

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