Wesley Lynch, CEO of South African apps developer Snapplify, on the most popular types of mobile apps in Africa, the platforms likely to dominate the market in the years to come, and the opportunities being created for Africa’s digital publishers.
What in your estimation is the current state of Africa’s apps market?
Smartphone usage drives the adoption of apps, and as smartphone numbers increase in Africa, particularly with the large amount of Android users here, apps and the importance of apps for business is on the increase.
It is an emerging and high-growth area that offers a lot of potential; and that potential is there for African applications and African businesses to have a global reach through the App Store.
African businesses and content providers can now play globally in apps.
Which types of apps do you think are proving most popular?
Social apps, chat apps, dating apps, gaming apps, entertainment apps, news apps (particularly around sport), banking apps and mobile payments.
Most of the services that are popular on the internet that haven’t really been easily accessible to the masses of Africa are now able to expand on mobile.
Which platforms dominate the market, and do you think this will continue?
The dominant players are Nokia and Blackberry in most markets, but Android’s growth is huge and it will continue to grow to become the dominant platform in Africa.
The Apple market is smaller in Africa, although the Apple market is very dominant in high-income brackets.
What interesting partnership opportunities do you see for African app developers and digital publishers?
Digital publishers are seeing mobile as a big opportunity to get their content distributed to a global market: they are looking to partner with solutions providers and use alternate distribution mechanisms to make money.
Snapplify is very active in this space and is partnered with many publishers to distribute their content.
Niche content producers need a language or cultural niche. Digital publishing is not only about text, there is the opportunity to distribute video as well. You can see the success of video in Nigeria with regard to their online Nollywood content.
There is an opportunity for other African countries to follow in their footsteps and help distribute and monetise their content in an African or overseas market.