For the past two days, the focal point of Chinese technocrats has been on the war for talent between two rising content-focused startups—Toutiao and Zhihu. On August 29, a celebrity microblogger on the Quora-like platform Zhihu posted on WeChat moments about the news aggregator app Toutiao poaching authors (our translation):

Toutiao has signed more than 300 big Vs this year so far, and it has just signed me, at a compensation higher than that of an average white-collar worker. After signing with Toutiao, an author’s content cannot be reposted to Zhihu. The quality of Zhihu’s articles are going down as all the good content creators have been poached.

Toutiao, the four-year-old Chinese startup whose valuation surged to over $22 billion, launched its own Q&A platform in 2016 eyeing the monetization promises: users can pay for an industry expert, or an internet celebrity, to answer questions. Established and new internet companies in China are betting big on content as user acquisition costs in the country become higher. In a world of information overload, netizens increasingly long for quality, targeted digital content.

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

What you get

Full access to all premium content and our full archives

Members'-only newsletters

Preferential access and discounts to all TechNode events

Direct access to the TechNode newsroom

Start your free trial now.

Get instant access to all our premium content, archives, newsletters, and online community.

Monthly Membership

Yearly Membership

Rita Liao

Telling the uncommon China stories through tech. I can be reached at ritacyliao [at] gmail [dot] com.