Signs that the South African economy is in DREADFUL shape: Naspers kills OLX South Africa – My Comments
Jan‘s Science Blog
I have a little Science blog where I post scientific news.
[The other day I went off to a big banking branch at a very big shopping mall near where I live. That banking branch has been there for decades – for as long as I can remember. When I got there … IT WAS GONE! GONE! Shut down. For one of South Africa's biggest banks to have to close a big branch in a major shopping mall, is not something that is done every day. I had never seen this before. There are other banking branches still open there. But this is a major thing. I have been seeing lots of buildings, especially commercial buildings that have shut down since COVID. But in this story below is another big one. OLX is one of the biggest, if not THE BIGGEST online advertising websites in South Africa, and WITHOUT ANY WARNING, it's owner NASPERS, shut it down the other day. There was no warning. It was just gone. And people were stunned by it's closure. Another interesting sign, but not a bad one in this case, is that I took a kitchen appliance for repairs to a shop run by Whites. It's been around, also for decades. Most of the staff there, as far as I can tell, are White. Anyway, for the first time ever, they were OVERLOADED with work. I have NEVER seen them so overloaded with repairs that I had to put my name on a list for more than a week, before they had an opening for me to drop my kitchen appliance there for repairs. I have never before seen a repair shop, including this one, so insanely overloaded with work. So I suspect that Whites are no longer just replacing old stuff with new stuff, and that is why they are overloaded with work to an insane level (which pleases me – make no mistake). I've never, in 40 years in South Africa, seen so many big changes in business as now. None of our previous unrest and political mayhem was as disruptive as this. Definitely, this country is not in as good shape as it was. Jan]
South Africans visiting the OLX website on Tuesday morning were greeted with the message that the classifieds service is no longer available.
“Not to worry, we can still help you find your new car or property,” the website stated, offering links to OLX subsidiaries AutoTrader and Property24.
The site was not yet restricted for everyone in South Africa at the time of publication.
MyBroadband tested from several different Internet providers and found that we could access OLX from Afrihost fixed LTE connections and Vodacom.
Those on MTN, Telkom, Cell C, Rain, and Cool Ideas FTTH were blocked.
One Afrihost fibre subscriber reported that they were briefly blocked from accessing the OLX site, but they could get in when they tested again later.
OLX-owner Naspers also appears to have delisted or blocked the classified platform’s apps on Google Play and the Apple App Store.
Trying to visit the App Store page for OLX South Africa gives the error message: “This app is currently not available in your region.”
Similarly, the OLX South Africa Twitter account has been deactivated or deleted, along with its Facebook page.
“This content isn’t available at the moment. When this happens, it’s usually because the owner only shared it with a small group of people or changed who can see it, or it’s been deleted,” Facebook says when trying to visit the OLX South Africa page.
OLX is owned by Naspers’ international Internet assets division, Prosus, and is headquartered in Amsterdam.
It operates in many countries, including Pakistan, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Portugal, Poland, Germany, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Romania, Russia, Spain, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan.
Naspers launched OLX in South Africa in 2011, competing directly with local classifieds platforms Bidorbuy and Gumtree.
OLX shut down all its African offices except South Africa on 6 February 2018, pulling out of Nigeria, Ghana, and Kenya.
The classifieds platform continued to operate in these countries remotely and was acquired by Jiji in April 2019.
MyBroadband contacted Naspers for comment, which confirmed the shutdown of OLX.
“A few moments ago, we discontinued our OLX horizontal classifieds platform in South Africa, as we focus our customer proposition fully on our strong property and autos verticals in the country — Property24 and AutoTrader,” said Sjoerd Nikkelen, the OLX Group general manager for Asia, the Middle-East and Africa.
“This is ultimately an indication of the progress we have made in South Africa over recent years and symbolic of how we as OLX Group continue to adjust ourselves.”
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