Online Q&A Platform Zhihu Reportedly Reduces Staff by 20%-30%

Recently, many employees said on social media platforms that Zhihu, an online Q&A platform in China, has been reducing its staff by 20%-30%. The layoffs covered businesses such as technology, commercialization, education and community.

Some employees who received a layoff notice said, “Although we are currently working from home, the layoffs are privately communicated on site. Rumors were circulating within the company about a half a month ago, and the layoffs started unexpectedly last Friday (May 20). Basically, they were notified on May 20 that they don’t have to work on May 23 because the relevant work permissions were closed.”

In response, on May 24th, Zhihu said that the changes were a normal optimization and adjustment of business and organization. The company said it focuses on building “ecology” first and constantly recruits for core positions so as to provide better experience for users.

In April this year, Zhihu was officially listed on the HKEx. On Wednesday, the company released its financial report for the first quarter of 2022. The report shows that its Q1 revenue totaled 743.2 million yuan ($111 million), a year-on-year increase of 55.4%. The company’s non-GAAP net loss of was 367.4 million yuan, while that in Q1 2021 was 193.6 million yuan.

The company’s content commercialization solution business earned more than 30.5% of the total, surpassing online the company’s advertising business and becoming the largest source of revenue. In addition, income from vocational education businesses accounted for 5.3% of total, up 1196% year-on-year.

The business income of paid members was 222 million yuan, a year-on-year increase of 75.1%, while the number of paying members reached 6.89 million, up 72.8% year-on-year. Meanwhile, the average number of monthly active users (MAU) in Q1 was 101.6 million, up 19.4% year-on-year.

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According to the company’s latest business plan, Zhihu intends to raise its payments to creators later in the year. On May 18, the company announced its investment of nearly 100 million yuan since the beginning of the year and has been providing financial rewards other than commercial access to creators who continue to strengthen their presence and fanbase on the platform.