Zhihu Inc. Reports Unaudited Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results
BEIJING, Nov. 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Zhihu Inc. ("Zhihu" or the "Company") (NYSE: ZH; HKEX: 2390), the operator of Zhihu, a leading online content community in China, today announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2022.
Third Quarter 2022 Highlights
"In the third quarter, we made further strides executing our 'community ecosystem first' strategy, shifting our focus to quality user growth and bolstering the strength and resilience of our content-centric business model," said Mr. Yuan Zhou, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Zhihu. "We saw encouraging performance across an array of user growth metrics including user activeness and time spent. We were also delighted to see an increased number of content creators who received financial incentives and earned higher average income in the Zhihu community. Moving ahead, we are committed to further enhancing the vitality of the Zhihu community, expanding our competitiveness, and striving to create long-term value for all the stakeholders."
Mr. Wei Sun, chief financial officer of Zhihu, added, "Despite the ongoing challenging macroeconomic conditions, our total revenues for the quarter recorded a double-digit year-over-year increase. Paid membership once again demonstrated robust growth potential with average monthly paying members reaching a new record high, and revenue from our vocational training business quadrupled year over year as we continued to expand offerings and address users' on-the-go needs. Meanwhile, our net loss for the quarter was significantly narrowed on a quarter-on-quarter basis. We firmly believe that Zhihu's resilient and innovative business model positions us well for continued investment for long-term growth while striving to achieve profitability."
Third Quarter 2022 Financial Results
Total revenues were RMB911.7 million (US$128.2 million) for the third quarter of 2022, representing a 10.7% increase from RMB823.5 million for the same period of 2021.
Advertising revenue was RMB196.7 million (US$27.7 million) for the third quarter of 2022, compared with RMB321.1 million for the same period of 2021. The decrease primarily reflected the headwinds faced by the online advertising industry in China broadly affected by the challenging macroeconomic conditions and the pandemic's resurgence nationwide.
Paid membership revenue was RMB335.4 million (US$47.2 million) for the third quarter of 2022, representing an 88.1% increase from RMB178.3 million for the same period of 2021. The increase was primarily due to the continued growth of our paying members, reflecting the attractiveness of our premium content and recognition of our paid membership value.
Content-commerce solutions revenue was RMB265.2 million (US$37.3 million) for the third quarter of 2022, compared with RMB278.4 million for the same period of 2021.The decrease was primarily due to the challenging macroeconomic environment.
Vocational Training revenue was RMB78.0 million (US$11.0 million) for the third quarter of 2022, increasing from RMB14.0 million for the same period of 2021. The strong increase was primarily due to the growth of our paying members attracted to our growing and diverse course offerings.
Other revenues were RMB36.3 million (US$5.1 million) for the third quarter of 2022, representing a 14.7% increase from RMB31.7 million for the same period of 2021. The increase was primarily due to the broadened offerings of our private label products and book series.
Cost of revenues increased to RMB467.3 million (US$65.7 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB398.6 million for the same period of 2021. The increase was primarily due to higher content-related costs and payment processing fees, as well as increased cloud services and bandwidth costs.
Gross profit increased to RMB444.4 million (US$62.5 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB424.8 million for the same period of 2021.
Gross margin for the third quarter of 2022 was 48.7%, compared with 51.6% for the same period of 2021.
Total operating expenses decreased to RMB723.0 million (US$101.6 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB747.3 million for the same period of 2021.
Selling and marketing expenses increased to RMB478.3 million (US$67.2 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB374.7 million for the third quarter of 2021. The increase was primarily due to higher promotion and advertising expenses as we continued to strengthen Zhihu's brand and promote Zhihu's community culture.
Research and development expenses decreased to RMB160.8 million (US$22.6 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB184.7 million for the same period of 2021. The decrease was primarily due to a decline in personnel-related expenses.
General and administrative expenses decreased to RMB83.9 million (US$11.8 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB188.0 million for the same period of 2021. The decrease was primarily due to lower share-based compensation expenses.
Loss from operations decreased to RMB278.6 million (US$39.2 million) for the third quarter of 2022 from RMB322.5 million for the same period of 2021.
Other income/(expenses) is comprised of investment income, interest income, fair value change of financial instruments, exchange gains/(losses) and others, net. The year-over-year changes were mainly due to the following.
Fair value change of financial instruments was a loss of RMB79.3 million (US$11.1 million) for the third quarter of 2022, compared to a gain of RMB11.1 million for the same period of 2021, primarily attributable to the fair value change of financial instruments related to currency exchange options and forward contracts due to the appreciation of U.S. dollars against Renminbi.
Exchange gains were RMB28.3 million (US$4.0 million) for the third quarter of 2022, compared with RMB8.7 million for the same period of 2021, primarily due to the appreciation of U.S. dollars against Renminbi.
Net loss was RMB297.6 million (US$41.8 million) for the third quarter of 2022, compared with RMB269.8 million for the same period of 2021.
Adjusted net loss (non-GAAP) was RMB250.6 million (US$35.2 million) for the third quarter of 2022, compared with RMB112.4 million for the same period of 2021.
Basic and diluted net loss per ADS was RMB0.49 (US$0.07) for the third quarter of 2022, compared with RMB0.46 for the same period of 2021.
Cash and cash equivalents, term deposits, and short-term investments
As of September 30, 2022, the Company had cash and cash equivalents, term deposits, and short-term investments of RMB6.6 billion (US$0.9 billion), compared with RMB7.4 billion as of December 31, 2021.
Share Repurchase Program
In May 2022, the Company announced a share repurchase program under which the Company may repurchase up to US$100 million of Class A ordinary shares or ADSs for a 12-month period, subject to the shareholders' approval for granting a general mandate to the board of directors to repurchase shares or ADSs of the Company. This general mandate was obtained at the Company's annual general meeting held on June 10, 2022. As of September 30, 2022, approximately 4.9 million Class A ordinary shares (including Class A ordinary shares underlying the ADSs) had been repurchased on both the New York Stock Exchange and The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited under the program for a total price of US$13.2 million.
The Company's management will host an earnings conference call at 7:00 a.m. U.S. Eastern Time on November 30, 2022 (8:00 p.m. Beijing/Hong Kong time on November 30, 2022).
All participants must pre-register online using the link provided below. Once the pre-registration has been completed, participants will receive dial-in numbers, a passcode, and a unique registrant ID which can be used to join the conference call. Participants may pre-register at any time, including up to and after the call start time.
PRE-REGISTER LINK: https://dpregister.com/sreg/10173450/f528d59af8
Additionally, a live and archived webcast of the conference call will be available on the Company's investor relations website at https://ir.zhihu.com.
A replay of the conference call will be accessible approximately one hour after the conclusion of the live call until December 7, 2022, by dialing the following telephone numbers:
About Zhihu Inc.
Zhihu Inc. (NYSE: ZH; HKEX: 2390), the operator of Zhihu, a leading online content community in China where people come to find solutions, make decisions, seek inspiration, and have fun. We have been dedicated to expanding our content and service offerings to enable our users to explore and enjoy "fulfilling content" (???????) that broadens horizons, provides solutions, and resonates with minds. Since the initial launch in 2010, we have grown from a Q&A community into one of the top five comprehensive online content communities and the largest Q&A-inspired online content community in China, both in terms of average mobile MAUs and revenue in 2019, 2020, and 2021, according to CIC. For more information, please visit https://ir.zhihu.com.
Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measure
In evaluating the business, the Company considers and uses adjusted net loss, a non-GAAP financial measure, to supplement the review and assessment of its operating performance. The Company defines adjusted net loss as net loss adjusted for the impact of share-based compensation expenses, amortization of intangible assets resulting from business acquisitions and the tax effects of the non-GAAP adjustments, which are non-cash expenses. The Company believes that the non-GAAP measure facilitates comparisons of operating performance from period to period and company to company by adjusting for potential impacts of items, which the Company's management considers to be indicative of its operating performance. The Company believes that the non-GAAP financial measure provides useful information to investors and others in understanding and evaluating the Company's consolidated results of operations in the same manner as it helps the Company's management.
The non-GAAP financial measure is not defined under U.S. GAAP and is not presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The presentation of the non-GAAP financial measure may not be comparable to similarly titled measure presented by other companies. The use of the non-GAAP measure has limitations as an analytical tool, and investors should not consider it in isolation from, or as a substitute for analysis of, our results of operations or financial condition as reported under U.S. GAAP. For more information on the non-GAAP financial measure, please see the tables captioned "Unaudited Reconciliations of GAAP and Non-GAAP Results" set forth at the end of this press release.
Exchange Rate Information
This announcement contains translations of certain Renminbi amounts into U.S. dollars at a specified rate solely for the convenience of the reader. Unless otherwise noted, all translations from Renminbi to U.S. dollars were made at a rate of RMB7.1135 to US$1.00, the exchange rate in effect as of September 30, 2022 as set forth in the H.10 statistical release of the Federal Reserve Board.
Safe Harbor Statement
This announcement contains forward-looking statements. These statements are made under the "safe harbor" provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about the Company's beliefs and expectations, are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, and a number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by words or phrases such as "may," "will," "expect," "anticipate," "target," "aim," "estimate," "intend," "plan," "believe," "potential," "continue," "is/are likely to," or other similar expressions. Further information regarding these and other risks, uncertainties or factors is included in the Company's filings with the SEC and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. All information provided in this press release is as of the date of this press release, and the Company does not undertake any duty to update such information, except as required under applicable law.
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SOURCE Zhihu Inc.
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