By now, some of us have been apprised by word doing rounds across the Internet that Naspers OLX is closing down its operations in a number of African countries, specifically Kenya and Nigeria. These are key markets in the continent, and we were caught off guard by the decision that will affect businesses that may have invested a fortune on the e-commerce site.
It appears that the platform’s Nigerian office is no more, although the details of the decision are still scanty. According to Techpoint, the CEO of OLX in Asia, Middle East and Africa confirmed Nigeria’s fate with the following statement:
“We made a difficult but important decision in Nigeria to consolidate our operations between some of our offices internationally.
Our marketplace will continue to operate here — uninterrupted — as it has since 2010, and we remain committed to the many people here who use our platform to buy and sell every month. We continue to be focused on constantly innovating to make sure that OLX remains the top classifieds platform in the country.
Of course, we are committed to helping our affected colleagues during this transition and have already offered them meaningful financial and other support. As we’ve expressed to them directly, we are extremely grateful for their many significant contributions to OLX’s success.”
The general idea from the above statement is that OLX plans to combine its operations into something new that we are yet to get hold of. It is an unclear statement, but the general take is that Naspers plans to make drastic changes in OLX’s operations in the West African state.
On the other hand, Kenya’s base is still running sans an official word of any changes, although it is rumoured a similar decision is imminent.
Based on local investments in the last couple of months, OLX Kenya has long term plans, which may discredit any plans to consolidate its business. For instance, it introduced a requirement that called for a permits for business accounts. The move capped ads for the said accounts over certain duration in a bid to encourage consumer to consumer sales. Barely a month ago, the online classifieds introduced a feature that allowed advertisers to place banners on the website’s homepage for high visibility at a premium.
It wouldn’t make sense to let go of these changes without giving them sufficient time to demonstrate projected goals. It is also for the same reason that Naspers may not shut down local operations. Rather, it may close some departments so as to stay lean for sustainability purposes.
We will update this story as soon as we learn more.