With 97 million monthly active users, 45 million questions, and 210 million answers, Zhihu is China’s number one Q&A platform and is often known as the “Quora of China.”

It really is the place to go if you have a question (or an answer) in China (or in Chinese).

In this post, I’ll be taking you through some of Zhihu’s key features and giving you an experience of a regular user. 

I think Zhihu serves a dual purpose for users:

1 – Social platform

2 – Search (to find information quickly)

Zhihu is an important site for anybody doing marketing and sales in China, especially for buyers of large or complex products: B2B sales, education, or anything requiring research.

The platform is also an invaluable tool for anybody wanting to learn about China, or what’s going on in China. However, you’d need a decent level of Mandarin to start navigating Zhihu.

This post was once a video, for those who prefer to watch rather than read. Even though the video is from 2020, it’s still up-to-date now in 2023.


The Homepage

Let’s start on Zhihu’s homepage.

Zhihu homepage

If you’re completely new to Zhihu (you don’t have an account or follow any accounts just yet), then the home page will recommend what answers are currently trending or “hot” on the platform. 

The hot stuff is normally quite new. Let’s take a look at an example.

Zhihu HOT stuff
This question is about what people think about the English portion of the Chinese high school test for 2020.



Anybody can ask a question, and anybody can answer one. However, answers to questions are normally varied. 

Some of them will be concise and to the point, while others will be quite funny. But, most of the answers will provide a fairly in-depth response to the question being asked. 

Information in the responses can come in the form of images, text, data, graphs, charts, etc. They may even cite secondary sources. 

The answer below contains a lot of secondary materials and a line chart. 

A Zhihu answer contains secondary materials and a line chart
Users can vote for, or “upvote” their favorite answers, which pushes the most comprehensive, detailed, or generally the best answer to the position of number one.

The answer below has 722 upvotes. 

Upvote for users' favorite answers

I’m not alone when I say this voting system works well. It is one of the reasons Zhihu has so much authority. People know they can come to Zhihu with a problem or a question and get a good answer. 

If a user can’t find an answer, that’s because it’s a question that hasn’t been asked just yet. 

All they then have to do is post the question themselves.


The Users

Now, who uses Zhihu?

I’d say the main users are students and white-collar professionals.

According to a 2020 report:

  • Over 80% of users have postgraduate degrees. 
  • Half of them live in first-tier, such as Beijing and Shanghai, or new first-tier cities like Chengdu, Nanjing, Hangzhou, etc.
  • In terms of age, over 40% of the users are over the age of 30. 

It’s nice to see this demographic present on Zhihu because not all Chinese social media platforms have an “older” (over-30s) user base. 

The platforms or sites I’ve analyzed in my other videos (Baidu, Xiahongshu, etc.) appeal to a much younger audience. 


Socializing or Searching for Something Specific? 

There are two ways of using the platform:

  1. Some people will use Zhihu as a type of “social” platform.
  2. Other people will find what they’re looking for and move on.

As a Social Platform:

Besides being a Q&A platform, Zhihu also functions like a social platform (e.g., Twitter, Facebook) with a few of its features and how it is used: 

  • Get followers. The more followers they have, the more influence they have.
  • Invite Key Opinion Leaders (like influencers). Users invite recognizable/famous influencers to answer high-level or special questions.
  • Users battle with each other. It’s kind of like arguing, but it is more like discussing and debating. Everyone will back up their opinions with data and facts.

Searching for an answer:

Let’s look at how a user might use Zhihu if they’re hunting for information in a hurry.

They might start on Zhihu, or they might start their search on Baidu (the main search engine in China).

On Baidu, I search for: “What type of video meeting software is good?”

Search for answer on Baidu
On the results page, we can see a couple of ads up top, an organic search result below, and the last spot belongs to Zhihu. 

This answer is a couple of years old, but it’s still ranking high on the first page of the search results. 

Clicking on the result takes me to the Zhihu page that contains the answer to my question.

The Zhihu answer on Baidu results

According to this answer, I should consider a type of software called Matein. 

It’s an informative answer, but it’s written a bit like an advertorial. You might not be able to read Chinese, but the company’s name is mentioned frequently, which is a hallmark of advertorial writing.

There’s a link at the bottom of the page taking me to Matein’s website.

A link in Zhihu answer redirecting to website

Or, I should say: “Should take me to Matein’s website.” (Unfortunately, the website no longer exists.)

From here, some people may go ahead and download the software immediately. Other people may see what other answers say on this topic. 

How people go about this depends on how much time they want to invest to get started as well as the scope of their operation. 

If they research software for use across their organization of 100,000+ people, they’ll be putting in more research and effort. An individual or a small group of people wondering what they could use for themselves would probably download the software immediately and start doing the demos. 



Anybody with a Zhihu account can ask questions and provide answers.

However, regular users will usually have profiles, and users with profiles get more followers.

A zhihu profile example

This particular user has 59,997 followers and 97,626 likes. Most regular users won’t have this many; this shows that they are active on the platform and write quality content.

The user has two verifications on the profile. 

Zhihu verifications on the profile

One verification shows that the user goes to the University at Buffalo, New York, and the second verification shows that they study engineering.

Been marked as excellent answerer by Zhihu

This user has been marked as an ”优秀答主” (excellent answerer) by Zhihu staff who give out the reward to users who consistently create superior content. The amount of traffic, likes, and results also factor into the decision, but how well they write is important. 

Looking at their answers, this user’s specialist topic seems to be cars.



As I’ve mentioned already: answers come in the form of text, pictures, graphs, data, etc. In recent years, videos have become increasingly popular; frequently appearing in users’ answers, in the advertisements you see on the platform, and in Zhihu’s separate video area. 

This video content can be embedded in the answers (see below).

Video content in Zhihu answers

Or they can be standalone too. 

Use video standalone as a Zhihu answer

However, I think that from the point of view of a user and what they want to see, they’re used to seeing text or image-based answers. The majority of the most-liked answers are in this format. 

A short video can contain a great deal of detail and information. In the future, I expect to see more answers in video format.


Other Features

Like other Chinese platforms, Zhihu contains several other features (live content, downloadable books, etc.).

From a user’s and marketing perspective (for what we do now), these features are not really part of the core Zhihu experience.


The Best Answers

As I have mentioned already, when creating content for a platform like Zhihu, the key is to write something authentic and useful that provides value to the readers.

Good content can stay active on the platform for a long time.

Most questions and answers have long-term relevance and value (years perhaps).

The question below: “Is there a moment when you have the feeling that studying abroad is worth it?” is four years old, has 8437 followers, 5,684,221 views, and 783 answers. The most recent answer is from December 17th, 2022.

A good Zhihu answer example


Contact Us

Have any questions about Zhihu or anything I’ve mentioned today? Ask us in the comments section below.

Want to learn more about how we use Zhihu as part of our B2B marketing strategy? Click here. 

For everything else China or China marketing-related, there’s our China Digital Marketing 101 page

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