Tencent-backed “Chinese Quora” Zhihu receives USD 434 million strategic investment from Baidu and Kuaishou

It might soon join Baidu’s content family.

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Chinese Q&A website Zhihu has reportedly completed a USD 434 million (or more than RMB 3 billion) series F funding round, the largest sum it has raised to-date, as reported by 36Kr.

This round of financing has been jointly led by Kuaishou and Baidu.

The Beijing-based company, whose name means “Do you know?” in Chinese, has often been called a Chinese copycat of the US firm Quora.

The platform was launched in 2011, a year and a half after its American counterpart. Although it was initially established with similar features, it has evolved into a diversified social media site with a profound knowledge-sharing community since.

The popular short video app Kuaishou had reportedly wanted to participate in Zhihu’s previous financing rounds, but the two parties could not come to an agreement until now, a person close to the matter told 36Kr.

According to a person close to Baidu, this round of investment will lead to Zhihu’s Q&A platform joining Baidu’s mini programs library and deepen the business linkage.

Baidu, which is also an investor in Kuaishou, launched a smart mini programs initiative last year. The aim of this RMB 1 billion project is to attract startups and developers to run their apps on Baidu’s own ecosystem, to enrich the content and find new users.

Kuaishou was among the first mobile apps to join the initiative.

Zhihu first reached a unicorn valuation in 2017 when it raised USD 100 million. Since then, the company has built out its two major income businesses: commercial advertizing and knowledge services.

The last round of financing from August last year had closed at USD 270 million.

As of 2018, Zhihu,  China’s most popular question-and-answer platform, had more than 160 million registered users and 26 million daily active users, as reported by Econsultancy.