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So much for mobile in emerging markets? InMobi pulls out of Africa, Russia

Multi-national mobile ad network InMobi is set to close up its operations in Africa and Russia.

The San Francisco headquartered company claims to be the world’s largest independent mobile ad network, with operations on five continents, with offices in Bangalore, Johannesburg, London, Nairobi, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.

In a statement, InMobi admitted that it would be closing the offices, but said that it would continue servicing the affected markets:

Like all successful and growing businesses, we routinely review our business to determine how to optimally serve our customers. We are changing the way we service the Africa and Russia markets. InMobi will continue to service any markets affected by these changes through centralised sales teams located in our regional centres.

InMobi has almost five years’ experience managing mobile advertising campaigns in developed and emerging markets we have confidence that there will be no noticeable change in our ability to service customers in any of these markets.

InMobi is committed to servicing the global mobile advertising industry as it has always done. We are currently meeting with all of the employees impacted by these changes to identify any potential redeployment options if at all possible.

Sources close to Memeburn say that all the staff in the African office will either face retrenchment or have to move to London.

The move is a sudden one, given that the company was advertising for a sales manager in South Africa as recently as September.

It is rumoured however that the closures come in the wake of the company’s acquisition by a large Japanese corporate.

InMobi claims that it is capable of reaching 485-million consumers, in over 165 countries, through more than 93.4-billion mobile ad impressions monthly. Of those, 35.4-million are in Africa, with the continent generating 10% of the total ad impressions.

The company, previously known as mKhoj, began life as an SMS-based search platform with initial funding from Mumbai Angels. In 2007, the company pivoted to a more scalable platform, mobile advertising. After the business model change, mKhoj rebranded itself to InMobi and received funding from Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Sherpalo Ventures.

After venturing into mobile advertisement segment, the company initially banked on mobile web publishers to generate revenue through Mobile Value Added Services via Mobile Phone Networks billing.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More


  1. Michael J Szymanski

    October 24, 2012 at 12:38 am

    This is a great opportunity for local ad networks to step up and prove innovative models for mobile advertising in Africa and emerging economies. As ‘big-product’ companies such as P&G and Unilever rely increasingly on emerging markets for growth they will begin investing more in promoting their relatively unknown brands in these markets – creating a huge opportunity in the ad space. We’re bullish that companies such as AdsBrook (www.adsbrook.com) (Ghana) and TwinPine (Nigeria) will define this space in a way that inmobi has not.

  2. Njonjo Ndehi

    October 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    We all totally ignore ads.

  3. Richard Weeden

    October 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Companies such us myDorpie.com offer excellent local mobile advertising opportunities with high click-through and significant results, especially for retail brands. We would certainly be interested in hiring inMobi staff that may find themselves jobless.

  4. Bayo Adek

    October 30, 2012 at 11:03 pm

    We have other known Giant in Mobile adverstising like dmobi.net, this is own by a Nigerian

  5. Pingback: What we do and don’t fund: Investment Thesis- Part 1 | Savannah Fund

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