China’s online question-and-answer platform Fenda raises US$25 million from investors

Wang Sicong, the only son of China’s richest man Wang Jianlin, invested in the platform after participating in a question and answer session

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 12:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 June, 2016, 12:09pm

Fenda, an online question-and-answer platform, has completed a series A funding round raising US$25 million from investors including Wang Sicong, the only son of China’s richest man Wang Jianlin.

The platform, which is similar to Quora and Reddit in the United States, has drawn massive attention from Chinese internet users after the younger Wang answered some highly personal questions. One user paid 3,000 yuan (HK$3,500) to ask the younger Wang “what if your girlfriend had an unwanted pregnancy?”

He has earned about 260,000 yuan by answering 32 questions on Fenda.

Fenda, which was launched on May 15 by Beijing-based knowledge-sharing site Zaihang.com, accumulated more than 1 million paid users in first 42 days, said Zaihang’s chief executive and founder Ji Xiaohua, also known as Ji Shisan.

This series A round, which raised funds for Zaihang and Fenda, was led by venture capital firms Vision Capital and Sequoia Capital, Fenda said on Monday. The younger Wang’s company Prometheus Capital and Chinese talk-show video site Luoji Shiwei, are among the investors.

Ji said the younger Wang decided to invest in Zaihang and Fenda after his participation in answering questions. He also said that a total of 500,000 voice messages were recorded and the transaction amount surpassed 18 million yuan.

Fenda users with some knowledge to share can set a price from one yuan to a few thousand yuan for answering a question. The answers are delivered via voice message, capped at 60 seconds. Users can pay the preset price and ask any kind of question to whomever they want on the site. For one yuan, other users can simply eavesdrop and listen to the reply.

In the era of the sharing economy, people can also make a profit by sharing their surplus of knowledge which is valuable to others
Ji Xiaohua, Zaihang’s chief executive and founder

Actress Zhang Ziyi, Chinese rock singer Wang Feng, property giant Vantone Holdings chairman Feng Lun and a number of artists and celebrities have also joined the younger Wang to answer questions on Fenda.

However, some analysts have said that the frenzy led mainly by celebrities and artists will be short-lived. “The popularity of Fenda is out of our expectation because of the participation of artists and celebrities, but Fenda has also attracted many professionals from various sectors to share their knowledge and earn money,” Ji said.

Doctors, teachers, science researchers, professional recruiters and companies have also joined Fenda to answer questions, he said.

“We have many users ask questions about medical knowledge, and 65 per cent of these questions were answered,” Ji said.

Fenda has more than 5,000 users from the medical sector, while 4,360 users are education professionals, and more than 800 companies are answering questions from users.

Ji said companies such as Chinese car website Autohome and Chinese mobile workout app Keep have already joined Fenda to answer questions.

“In the era of the sharing economy, people can also make a profit by sharing their surplus of knowledge which is valuable to others,” Ji said.