Joburg home to new IBM centre

IBM has launched a $1.6 million (R17.7m) client centre in Johannesburg to accelerate innovation for the business sector in a drive to expand on the African continent. The hardware and software maker said yesterday: “Clients, IT partners, developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics can access enhanced cloud capabilities and extensive big data and analytics resources.” It said about one in every two medium to large firms used cloud technology, and the proliferation of cellphones and tablets was accelerating the opportunity to interpret data patterns to anticipate needs and deliver improved services. – Asha Speckman


India gets Mxit messaging app

Mxit had launched its mobile instant messenger application in India, South Africa’s largest social network said yesterday. “The first phase of expansion for the emerging market is the launch of Mxit in India and the release of Mxit 7 for Android and BlackBerry users,” chief executive Francois Swart said. “Mxit would provide the growing 550 million feature phone users across India with the ability to affordably use a basic data-enabled feature phone like a smartphone, with advanced functionality for chat and accessing apps and games. Launching in India was a natural next step, which allows us to build on the success we had in South Africa.” – Sapa


Investec names Aussie unit boss

Investec had appointed Ben Smith as head of investment banking in Australia after Christian Nicks quit amid losses and job cuts, the banking group said yesterday. Smith, a senior corporate adviser, had been with Investec since 2001, the firm said. Nicks ran the investment bank for four years. Investec cut 80 jobs and closed or scaled back its Australian securities, equity capital markets and structured financial products businesses in the six months to September last year after its operations made a loss of A$12 million (R117m). In November, it appointed three firms to review the potential sale of some units. Investor relations head Ursula Nobrega said: “We’ve received interest from a number of parties.” – Bloomberg