Ashish Thakhar’s Mara Group Acquires India’s IM Platform Nimbuzz to Build a WeChat for Africa

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Ashish Thakkar’s Mara.com, an online and mobile tech platform running Mara Mentor and Mara Jobs has acquired India-based Nimbuzz IM platform from UK’s New Call Telecom to join the fight for the consumer IM market and build a WeChat for Africa.

New Call Telecom had bought 70% stake in Nimbuzz for about $175 million and WeChat has failed to gain mass traction in Africa.

Anubhav Nagar, CEO of Mara Social Media said “We see a strong momentum for consumer messaging apps, which are set to overtake social media apps globally. According to reports and current trends it is clear that social media apps are likely be eclipsed by messaging apps in the next two years. This is the opportunity, which we identified with Nimbuzz.”

Mara will now run Nimbuzz & Holaaas well as their international assets, IP & Database. Nimbuzz Instant messenger & Holaa have a user base of 200 million registered users spread across India and the Middle East.

Initially released in May 2008, the cross-platform mobile calling and messaging app can be installed on computers, mobile phones, smartphones, and tablets and allows users to make voice and video calls, enable chat and file sharing worldwide.

Mara will roll-out a new hybrid approach for the Nimbuzz messenger which would be an amalgamation of content, Incubator platform, smart market place and consumer communities. Mara plans to integrate the Nimbuzz platform with its existing Mara platforms including Mara Mentor and Mara Jobs into Nimbuzz Messenger and vice versa.

Through this multi-platform integration of Nimbuzz & Mara’s current consumer facing platforms, the long-term play for Mara Social Media is to enable commerce by growing and amplifying the power of the user base & engagement like WeChat has done.

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With over 850m users, WeChat’s massive audience allows the one-to-one messaging platform with an n-app payment system and other functionalities to help firms build their own stores and fulfil orders and deal with customers according to the FT.

Ahuti Chug, Chair of Mara Social Media said “Users are now demanding a messaging app experience that goes beyond entertainment or communications. We see this as a gap in the offering of the existing messenger players in most markets and it opens up a huge opportunity for Mara to tap in to. We are extremely excited about this move and with the fact that it makes us a global player in this space.”