$10 million for mobile media company BuzzCity

Singapore-based start-up develops mobile networking software for consumers who do not have broadband access on PCs.

BuzzCity, a mobile networking and advertising start-up based in Singapore, on Thursday announced a $10 million investment by South African media company Naspers.

BuzzCity has developed a mobile social-networking product called MyGamma, but it's not hoping to take on Facebook. MyGamma is geared toward "unwired" customers--those who have a mobile device but lack access to either a PC or a reliable broadband connection. That's probably why it attracted the attention of Naspers--market research firm Point Topic estimated late in 2007 that there were fewer than 300,000 broadband Internet subscriptions in South Africa out of a population of 47 million. South Africa also happens to be one of the fastest-growing markets for BuzzCity's software.

"The growth opportunity for off-deck services continues to grow globally. We've seen phenomenal growth in markets in South Asia and Africa and in the coming year, we expect to see this growth to include markets in Europe and (the U.S.)," CEO K.F. Lai said in a release. "The past year for us has also been marked by partnerships with some of the world's leading WAP publishers and mobile digital agencies. BuzzCity has been on an aggressive development programme and secured overwhelming interest from businesses to be part of our growth plans."

BuzzCity is not alone in targeting this market. Medium-sized social network Hi5, with a strong foothold in the Latin American market, recently launched a mobile site designed with the same "unwired" consumers in mind.

About the author

Caroline McCarthy, a CNET News staff writer, is a downtown Manhattanite happily addicted to social-media tools and restaurant blogs. Her pre-CNET resume includes interning at an IT security firm and brewing cappuccinos.

 

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