Earlier this year the news that Schibsted Classified Media was merging its classified site in Morocco, Bikhir.ma with one of the competitors Avito.ma raised a lot of questions. On 1 July the merger was finally signed and both teams joined forces to merge both sites.
Eyass Shakrah, CEO of Avito MENA confirms:
“This is a great opportunity for Avito and Bikhir, but particularily for the Moroccan internet users since two great teams are teaming up to further develop the already strong online marketplace in Morocco.”
The joint venture has kept the name Avito.ma, and is headed by Larbi Alaoui Belrhiti, General Manager of Bikhir.ma.
Schibsted has a 52 percent ownership.
The two teams have already started working together in Bikhir.ma’s cozy new offices in Casablanca.
Photos of the new office and its identity design have actually been featured in the California-based website Office Snapshots.
Already a team
The new team consisting of a total of 34 employees is very excited about the new venture.
“The teams from both companies are very excited. The process of starting to work together has actually been even smoother than what we expected; almost as if we had known each other for a long time. We are a team!” says Azzeddine Faik, Backend Developer at Bikhir.ma.
Avito highest brand awareness
Because of its very high brand awareness rate in Morocco, Avito.ma was kept as the brand name for the new joint venture. However, to create awareness around the merger a new logo was developed combining the visual identities of both Bikhir (with the typical Schibsted Classified Media’s “magic box”) and Avito (using its color codes and font).
It has also been decided to keep the Blocket platform but adding missing functionalities that were important to Avito users such as user accounts.
New site underway
On the other hand, the new website will launch a fresher version of both sites with a designed inspired from some SCM Ventures sites such as Tayara.tn. The new website will first be launched in a beta testing mode in September 2014, followed by a hard launch the following month.
“From a technical standpoint, the new platform will be a new version that will combine the best of the two platforms, drawing its strength from the expertise of Schibsted Media Group and its 15 years of experience in the global online classifieds industry,” says Belrhiti.