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Tencent-backed Kuaishou, Baidu invest US$434m in China's answer to Quora

Through the financing, Baidu will add more than 100 million of Zhihu's Q&A posts to its main mobile app, which is a combination of search engine and news feed.

[HONG KONG] Zhihu, China's answer to online question-and-answer (Q&A) service Quora, raised US$434 million from investors including some of the country's largest social media companies and the leading search service to bankroll its expansion.

Kuaishou, one of the biggest live-streaming platforms, led the investment in Zhihu, according to a statement from China Renaissance Holdings, which advised on the deal.

Zhihu, whose name means "know?" in Chinese, also snagged search giant Baidu as a new investor. Existing backers Tencent Holdings and Capital Today also invested in the new round.

The investments could help Kuaishou and Baidu amass more content and fend off competition from ByteDance, which is moving into search and drawing smartphone-savvy users to its popular short video and personalized news services.

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Through the financing, Baidu will add more than 100 million Zhihu Q&A posts to its main app, which is a combination of a search engine and news feed, Baidu said in a statement.

"We are all facing the same problem of an isolated island of information, and the cost of high-quality content is rising," Zhihu chief executive officer Zhou Yuan said on his own service after the investment was announced.

Founded by coder-turned-blogger Mr Zhou, Zhihu has evolved over the past eight years to become one of China's most reputable social media platforms, known for its high-quality Q&As on everything from films to football and foreign policy.

Zhihu is "recognised for its unique knowledge creation and sharing community", Wang Lixing, a China Renaissance managing director, said in the statement.

"The cooperation between Zhihu, Kuaishou and Baidu will create huge synergies and lay the foundation for long-term development."