Quora-like Zhihu rumored to lay off hundreds of employees

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Zhihu, China’s Quora-like knowledge sharing platform is reportedly laying off over 300 staff, around 15% of its workforce.

“This morning I was fixing bugs, then in the afternoon I got the news,” one Zhihu employee said in an anonymous post on Maimai, a Chinese professional networking platform.

A Zhihu spokesperson told TechNode that the information circulating online about job cuts is a rumor, adding that the process is part of a performance evaluation the company uses to make staffing adjustments and structural optimizations.

Headhunters told Chinese media 36Kr that its unlikely the rumored layoffs are purely fiction, though they shouldn’t raise a red flag about Zhihu’s operations. Many Internet companies, including bike-rental firms ofo and Bluegogo, were forced to cut jobs because their operations or funding ran into serious problems.

In August, Zhihu raised $270 million in series E funding—the biggest round in the company’s history. With a valuation of $2.5 billion, the eight-year-old company is the fourth-largest social media platform in China, with around 180 million registered users.

The company has started commercializing its services, and has been focusing on advertisements and paid content. In the first half of 2018, its revenue increased by 340% compared to the same period last year.

On top of the job cuts rumors, there has also been speculation about the company’s leadership shuffle. Multiple reports suggested that Zhihu is bringing a new CFO on board (in Chinese), which—along with “structure optimization”—hint that the company could be preparing for a public listing.

The company told TechNode it hasn’t started an IPO process and does not have a timeline.