App stores are the future: Naspers boss - TechCentral

App stores are the future: Naspers boss

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In a world where the smartphone is becoming ever more dominant, the app store is becoming key to success for an e-commerce business, according to Naspers CEO Bob van Dijk.

In 2014, the number of mobile devices exceeded the world’s population, which stands around 7bn. Cisco says in its Mobile Network report that monthly global mobile data traffic will surpass 24,3 exabytes by 2019. There are roughly a billion gigabytes in an exabyte.

“Globally, smart devices represented 26% of the total mobile devices and connections in 2014; they accounted for 88% of the mobile data traffic,” the report explains. “In 2014, on an average, a smart device generated 22 times more traffic than a non-smart device.”

Within the world of smartphones, app stores have become the new Google, said Van Dijk.

“If you develop great apps that customers will like, then app stores will be your partner to ensure people see it on their screens,” Van Dijk said.

“The world is becoming rapidly an app-first world, where your position on the consumer’s screen is really crucial,” he said. “We [Naspers] are ranking in the top five with most of our e-commerce apps.

“I think what it mainly requires … is to think quite differently about how we interact with customers and how we market it,” he said. “App stores are in many ways partners in that trajectory.

“As Google has been partners in reaching customers in the desktop world, you see app stores being partners in an app-based world. It requires you to change your marketing approach drastically.”

Van Dijk said that apps have the same goals as websites in that they want to “offer a good proposition to the customers that they will like.

“So, if you have the right apps, the app store will be a partner in getting it on people’s screens. If you don’t have a good app, app stores will try to do their best not to get your app in front of customers.”

He said Naspers is investing in emerging markets where mobile Internet scales up fast. India, which he said ticks this box, is currently its biggest investment market.

Core headline earnings for Naspers for the year ended 31 March 2015 grew by 30% to R11,2bn, while development spend investment increased by 33% to R10,7bn, the JSE-listed company said in its results.

Naspers was trading 0,4% higher at 10.50am on Wednesday at R1 903,61.  — Fin24

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