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Quora and Zhihu: which is better for your business?

Zhihu is a popular Chinese social media. Although it is similar to Quora – people ask questions that others will answer – the user experience is very different.
Let’s see why.

Quora and Zhihu: Revenue

Quora’s approach is focused on making great questions. This will generate visitors, who come to read the answers. For this reason Quora’s Partner Program will pay a small revenue to who can think of viral questions to ask. Quora can pay through its income provided by its ads system.
Zhihu’s approach is different: first of all, its revenue comes from “special accounts” which have access to a higher tier of answers. We can consider this higher tier something like giving the opportunity to do 1 on 1 QA with an expert. This lets you get in touch with very knowledgeable people at a glance.
Furthermore, many authors can decide to let people pay them for an explanation on a specific topic. They will then get reviewed according to the quality of their speech, knowledge and so on. You can also market your e-books about a specific topic and sell them on Zhihu. Zhihu users will have the chance to read part of the e-book so they can have an idea of the product. These and other initiatives make Zhihu a information marketplace that Quora, as for now, cannot compare with.

Quora vs Zhihu: Popularity degree

While Quora focuses on feeding its users popular questions according to their taste, Zhihu combines it with a popularity list. The most interesting questions about a topic that you are following will show up in a specific area. In this way you can know which topics are currently trending. Is it that new famous actor’s movie? Or political news from the Western world? A new reform by the Chinese government? The viral story of a person who has gone through much hardship and eventually succeeded in life?
That gives Zhihu’s writers a clear idea about where they should focus on. If you want to be popular on Zhihu, you need to find a popular answer. And of course, you need to be able to take care of it. Still, due to the massive amount of users focused on trending topics, it is very hard to make your answer the #1 . And the more time it passes, the more hard it will be for your answer to reach that place. That’s because most people will read only the first couple of answers.

Usefulness of Quora

Both Quora and Zhihu address people with higher education. But the amount of people on Quora and Zhihu for business is very different.
Chinese mentality is focused on business a lot, and this makes it through any kind of social – even Wechat is filled with business advertising from private profiles.
For this reason, while Quora has support of many languages and has a bigger user reserve (provided you speak the right languages), Zhihu seems more efficient to use for business. You can find your own niche and get both your potential customers and competitors willing to pay for your knowledge.
The community of Quora doesn’t really appreciate people asking questions which they are going to answer. Promoting your business according to the rules of Quora is not easy. Probably it is even meant to be so.

Zhihu’s system

Zhihu, instead has an entire area for creating content without somebody asking for that.
Both the socials give you the chance to register to groups or create your own, so that you can get in touch with people interested about the same thing.
In order to help distinguishing between good writers that have given big contributions to the community from everybody else, both Quora and Zhihu have their own system. Quora provides awards (such as “Top Writer of the year”) while Zhihu has a “salt system” which basically rewards community-building behavior, such as commenting, upvoting, giving proper answers and generally following the rules. Zhihu rewards this behavior by providing access to special content (which normally is pay per view) and giving better opportunities to make money. For example, only people with at least a 500 salt score can be private consultants in Zhihu.

Info about the users

While this can vary a lot depending on the topics that you are going to work on, in general we can say two things.
1. Zhihu has only Chinese users, which means without Chinese it is hard somebody will read your answers. Many users understand english, but you won’t be any popular with english only. Quora has support for many languages and you can find your own country’s niche to easily adapt in.
2. Quora’s users are generally more interested about learning new things or finding interesting explanation about anything. Although Zhihu’s users have intellectual interests which can go from entertainment to studying new topics, there is a solid business-oriented base.

Different geography

We need to remind, though, that:
– 35% of Quora’s 300 million monthly active users are from USA. 22% comes from India. This means that roughly one American on three is on Quora, and one person on three on Quora is American. One on five Quora users is Indian and one on 21 people in India uses Quora.
– Zhihu has only 220 million registered users (which is very different). That would be one person on seven in China uses Zhihu.
– Quora is good to connect with USA, India and even UK (although “only” almost 5% of Quora users are British, due to the lower population compared with India and US, this means one on 5 people in UK uses Quora).
– In general we can say that Quora is very popular among anglophones, especially since a lot of its content is available only in that language – but that can change, and Zhihu is not offering any support for other languages, making Quora the only choice for this type of social media.

Conclusions

– Zhihu is clearly more business-oriented. People won’t give up their knowledge for nothing – or at least try to seem so – like they do on Quora.
– Zhihu has a clear offline-direction. Their activity to build a brand that can be recognized has reached the point that Zhihu even made its own version of TED talks. This brand moved onto publishing books and other information products based on the material provided by the best writers of the media.

In conclusion, while Zhihu is typically pointless for anybody who doesn’t know Chinese, a campaign made there has a bigger business potential (for Chinese market, of course) than one made on Quora. Furthermore, there are more business chances than the ones Quora allows for.
This applies to businessmen, writers and influencers altogether.

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