Wendell Roelf

Naspers aimed to transform itself into a “predominantly mobile” content company, its new chief executive said yesterday, as it looked to bring its stable of e-commerce and auction websites to tablets and smartphones.

Naspers, one of the world’s largest internet companies by market value, would continue to target e-commerce firms for acquisition, Bob van Dijk said, seeking to add to operations that reach 120 countries.

It has already reinvented itself at least once, going from an apartheid-era newspaper publisher to a media and online giant focused on technology and emerging markets.

“We will be more of an operator in the internet than we have been… the most exciting part is adjusting ourselves to be predominantly a mobile company,” he said. “It’s hard to comment on future mergers and acquisitions, but e-commerce will be very important for us.”

While he gave no details of the mobile strategy, Naspers’s recent acquisitions – and his background at eBay – suggest the R515 billion company could increase the mobile presence of its online classifieds and retailing businesses.

“It’s a direction where we see a lot of traction and it works well in markets we operate in,” Van Dijk said of e-commerce.

This year the group consolidated its online classified services in south-east Asia and eastern Europe into the OLX brand. Last year it bought an 80 percent stake in redBus.com, India’s largest bus ticket portal.

Shares fell 2.11 percent to close at R130 yesterday. – Reuters