Wang Sicong, the son of Chinese billionaire and investor Wang Jianlin, made yet another splash in Chinese media this week for grabbing over 130 thousand RMB ($19,800 USD) in three days by answering twenty-five questions, covering a wide variety of topics from investment to his sex life on a Chinese online Q&A platform. The price for each question started at 3,000 RMB and has since surged to 4,999 RMB.
Spurred by the news, Fenda, the platform where Wang answered these questions, has received a boost in popularity just one week after their official launch on May 15.
Fenda, which means one-minute answers, is a mix between Quora and Reddit’s AMA, and is operated through a WeChat enterprise account. Answers are delivered via voice messages and are no longer than 60 seconds – hence the name of the service.
Users who are knowledgeable about a particular topic can set a price, usually between 1-500 RMB for their answers and get paid for answering questions from others. If they don’t reply within 48 hours, the money will be reimbursed to those who raised the questions.
In addition to connecting questioners and respondents in the Q&A chat interface, Fenda has an eavesdropping feature to engage more listeners. Anyone who is curious about the dialogue can listen to the reply for 1 RMB, which is split between the user who asked the question and the user who answered. After the completion of dialogue, Fenda will take 10% from the overall income from both parties.
Wang Sicong is not the only figure that has benefited from the platform. Top earners on Fenda are a diverse group of individuals: Zhang Yu, a gynecologist from Peking Union Medical College Hospital; Shi Hang, a prestigious screenwriter; Tong Dawei, A-list actor; and Wang Feng, a pop singer.
In a shift from the traditional fan economy for internet celebs, China’s cyber world is moving towards a knowledge economy which retails expertise to users under a paid business model.
In addition to Fenda, Guokr, the science networking service behind Fenda, has developped a paid knowledge sharing app Zaihang to connect industry experts and their advocates.
Just one day before Fenda’s launch, Zhihu, a leading Q&A platform in China, rolled out Zhihu Live, which allows users to join live online one-to-one sessions with experts on specific topics for a fee.
Peer skill-sharing platform Skillbank and Beijing-based Pingo Space are also engaged in skill and expertise sharing sector, although their service and business model take different form with Fenda and Zhihu’s.