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Naspers’ Kalahari dumps own classifieds site for renowned OLX

Naspers, an emerging markets internet multinational based in South Africa, is abandoning its local classifieds service for the internationally-renowned OLX, the world’s largest free classified site with over 130 million unique visitors per month.

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The move is mainly one of consolidation because Naspers took a stake in OLX in August 2010. OLX is used in more than 90 countries and 40 languages. The company was co-founded in March 2006 by millionaire internet entrepreneurs Fabrice Grinda and Alec Oxenford. OLX has more than 150 employees across offices in South Africa, Argentina, USA, Russia, China, Brazil and India.

Kalahariads.net has been facing stiff competition from the eBay-owned Gumtree, which has established a strong foothold in the country in a short time. The new platform, www.olx.co.za, will be effective 20 December.

Paul Casarin, General Manager of Kalahari Ads, says that Kalahari Ads has been “hugely successful” since its launch earlier this year, claiming that the general classifieds site became the third largest in South Africa within eight months. In that time, a number of Naspers newspaper classifieds titles were rebranded.

“OLX is one of the world’s leading classified services and the current leader in Latin America and Asia,” he explains. “With a presence in 90 countries in 40 languages, the free classifieds site has a strong user base internationally, with over 125 million unique visitors per month worldwide.”

He continues, “By consolidating the two businesses we enjoy the expertise of a global classifieds business (OLX) as well as the hands-on local knowledge of the Kalahari Ads team who will ensure prompt customer support and high moderation standards enabling the safest place for buyers and sellers.”

He adds that OLX is one of the largest classified companies in emerging markets and brings a wealth of expertise gained from entering into multiple countries, and adapting each approach for local environments.

“Any well managed, well moderated classifieds site is an advantage to both buyers and sellers. With our focused investment in one platform and the strong marketing around it, consumers will be able to advertise, buy or sell almost anything in one place,” he adds. “As always, we will continue to offer the highest moderation standards to ensure the safest place for buyers to meet sellers.”

Amongst a range of new online features, the OLX platform also offers mobile apps for a wide range of smartphones, including Android, Nokia, Blackberry, and iPhone, together with a mobile site for non smart-phone users.

Naspers recently shut down the Kenyan and Nigerian versions of Kalahari, saying that the performance of the service had “been below expectation since launch and reaching profitability was not a reasonable near-term prospect”.

The company also recently killed Dealify, its late entry into the group-buying space, after just a few months in existence.