Baidu and Kuaishou-backed Q&A platform Zhihu rolls out live streaming feature to speed up monetization efforts

After snagging USD 434 million from investors, Zhihu has been trying to raise its profitability.

Photo: stock.tuchong.com

China’s largest question-and-answer site Zhihu has launched a live streaming function on Friday, in an effort to energize the user community and drive monetization growth.

The feature, which is invite-only now, allows a group of selected Zhihu influencers to do live videos on the platform and interact with other community members. Viewers can tip live streamers by giving out virtual gifts.

After one-day testing, Zhihu took down the function temporarily, for reasons of “technology optimization,” KrASIA learned. It’s unclear yet when the feature will be available again.

Founded in 2011, Zhihu, or “Do you know?” in Chinese, is now one of the most reputable social media platforms in China. It started from a text-based question-and-answer site similar to Quora, to a more comprehensive knowledge-sharing portal offering user-generated columns, magazines, online lectures, and paid consulting services.

In recent years, the Beijing-headquartered company, with more than 220 million users and 30,000 official accounts registered, has been strengthening its monetization efforts. Zhihu’s paid membership program debuted in March, providing users access to premium content.

The company also released several new apps this year, including a short-video app called “Ji Ying,” and a male-focused lifestyle sharing platform named “Chao.”

Earlier in August, Zhihu secured USD 434 million in its Series F round from investors including Tencent-backed video and live-streaming site Kuaishou, search giant Baidu, and existing backers Tencent and Capital Today. This was one of the largest financing rounds in China’s digital culture and entertainment segment over the past two years.