In what seems to be a major move, mobile ad network, InMobi is shutting down offices in Africa and Russia, as reported by Business Daily Africa. InMobi had regional offices in Nairobi (Kenya) and Moscow (Russia). However, the company said that it will continue to serve the markets through its centralised sales teams located in its regional centres, and that current global market conditions justify changes to the company’s investment levels in countries including Kenya and South Africa. It also said that it was discussing redeployment options with its employees in the affected offices.
However, another report by Memeburn, cites sources to inform that staff in the African office will either face retrenchment or will be made to move to London. That report also points out that the move was in the wake of a Japanese corporate acquiring InMobi. We believe it refers to Softbank’s $200 million investment.
We’ve contacted InMobi for a response and will update this story as soon as we hear from them.
InMobi in Africa
We feel that this is a major move as Africa was among the first set of markets when InMobi started expanding its mobile advertising business, internationally. At that time, emerging markets were a major area of focus for the company, and within six months of setting operations in Africa, it had claimed to have seen 5000% growth in monetisation and 3000% growth in network inventory. In its recent quarterly mobile insights report on North Africa and Middle East, it had reported a growth of 248% for Smartphone impressions, and 156% growth in mobile impressions, compared to the same quarter in 2011. The leading markets in terms of growth in Africa, are Nigeria and South Africa.
Since, Africa is still seeing growth in mobile internet penetration, publishers would not have been very bullish on mobile advertising. This might be the reason for InMobi or its investors deciding to limit operations in the market. Earlier in the year, InMobi had inked a mobile ad sales partnership in Africa, with digital sports media group, Perform, for its football news website,Goal.com. The exclusive partnership covered all African traffic to m.goal.com during the African Cup of Nations.
InMobi claims to reach 578 million customers in more than 165 countries, through over 47 billion monthly ad impressions. The company had raised $200 million in a Series C funding round from Japanese telecom and internet company, Softbank Corporation, in September 2011. It has offices in Bangalore, Mumbai, Delhi, London, New York, Paris, San Francisco, Seoul, Singapore and Tokyo.