China’s Quora Zhihu raises $270 million in series E funding

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Chinese question-and-answer site Zhihu, known as China’s Quora, announced on August 8 that it has raised $270 million in series E funding. The company aims to use the money to boost artificial intelligence related technology and build a better content eco-system, according to its press release.

With the funding, Zhihu will build a 100-people strong team focusing on AI algorithms to push more personalized content for users. It also plans to expand its Chengdu office and cooperate with more universities and experts in different fields.

Founded in 2011, Zhihu has expanded from an invitation-only community to a platform that “aims to be national” and rushed into the business of paid content. The community was first thought to be targeting the elite, but later quickly expanded to the general public. Some of the users complained that there are fewer quality answers on the platform than earlier.

Apart from the Q&A feature the platform has built from the beginning, it also offers electronic books and paid live streaming. Zhihu also launched Zhihu University that offers paid online courses in business, science, and humanities and career coaches. According to the release, Zhihu University has more than 6 million paid users.

Founder and chief executive officer Zhou Yuan said the number of Zhihu users has been expanding rapidly in and that the platform should adapt to more user scenarios.

Zhihu’s revenues mainly consist of commercial advertisements and paid content. The revenues in the first half of 2018 increased 340% compared with the same period last year. However, the company didn’t reveal the actual numbers of its profits or losses.