With the recent test flight of the new Chinese J-20 stealth fighter, China’s growing economic influence, and the upcoming visit of President Hu Jintao to the US, 2011 promises to be yet another interesting year. In addition to writing for Forbes.com and Business Insider, I have also recently been posting a lot to a relatively new startup, Quora, which can be simply described as a question and answer startup.
I was invited to Quora (you need an email invite) in June, and started posting questions and answers. Since then, it has started to grow on me. It’s more than a Q&A site, it’s a knowledge network, and has managed to attract some serious and interesting China observers. If I can make a small claim, it was that I felt that the quality of discussion on China was not good on the Internet; the general media took a generally hostile attitude to China, then there are those in China who have had to filter their opinions because, well, they are working in China for Chinese employers, supporting them and their families. There wasn’t much of a middle ground, and there was little room for nuance. For this reason, I made some contributions to the discussions in the form of questions and answers, just to get the conversation going.
I am happy to say that I now feel some of the best discussion of China on the Internet is now on Quora, and it draws a very knowledgeable crowd, including people living inside and outside China. From reading the discussion, I think that you will find that there is a wide variety of opinions, but they do agree on some key issues.
I have pulled out three discussions which give you some idea of the level of conversation:
- What do Chinese consumer tech companies need to do to be innovative enough to compete in developed markets like the US?
- What will be the best entry strategy for a foreign-owned Internet company to succeed in China?
- Is Amy Chua right when she explains “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior” in an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal?
The last topic of Amy Chua’s has been particularly active and attracted a very interesting array of opinions.
The two founders of the company, Charlie Cheever and Adam d’Angelo, come from Facebook and the company is backed by Benchmark. The current buzz is that the company has a valuation of US$200M.
To join Quora, you will need an email invite. If you are interested and would like one, let me know.