On the morning of August 10, Victor Zhou, the founder, chairman and CEO of Chinese question-and-answer platform Zhihu, released an open letter to announce that its average monthly paid members exceeded 10 million in July, marking a new milestone in the commercialization of the company.
Zhou said that they started their business exactly 12 years ago on August 10, 2010, and officially launched Zhihu in January 2011. The membership business was started in 2018, when it was also called SVIP business. It is now named the Salt Elected Membership, launched in 2019, which has really got on track.
The biggest change is that starting from the original experience of the Q&A community, content creators’ original paid works on Zhihu are upgraded to the “Salt Elected Column,” and the creators are included in the membership system. As a result, a large number of “Salt Elected creators” have emerged, and their creative potential has been released through the creation of paid content, and both individual users and the platform have achieved considerable commercial value.
The Salt Elected Membership business comes from the community, and although it lost money in the initial stages, it has gradually become self-sufficient, allowing it to support the construction of the community. Recently, it began to contribute to the creation fund of a “Knowledge Plan” to be released soon. Zhou said: “Changes are taking place in the community ecology today. I believe that over time, the ecology will become more prosperous and powerful in the near future.”
On April 22, 2022, Zhihu successfully returned to Hong Kong for a public listing. Zhou then announced the strategy of “ecology first” in another open letter: “Good ecology brings good content, which is good business. Under the strategy of ‘ecology first,’ Zhihu will focus on four major issues: content creator experience, sense of content acquisition, good community atmosphere and commercialization growth pace matching that of community development.”
The firm’s financial report shows that in the first quarter of 2022, the average number of monthly active users (MAU) of Zhihu was 101.6 million, a year-on-year increase of 19.4%. The business income of paid members was 222 million yuan ($32.9 million), a year-on-year increase of 75.1%.