There has been some excellent speculation here on what guides the business decision by Quora on what languages to target:
- Nick Nicholas’ answer to What other languages should Quora support?
- Josephine Stefani’s answer to What other languages should Quora support?
- Clarissa Lohr: Why German and Italian? by Nick Nicholas on The Insurgency
In fact at that point in time (last month), the question What other languages should Quora support? overlapped with this. (Let’s keep it separate though.)
D’Angelo has said publicly that he’s not going after the Mainland Chinese market, which is hard for American companies to break into. (Even if Zhihu wasn’t already established, China would create it just so Quora wouldn’t get a foothold.) Taiwan and the Chinese diaspora are not going to be enough to sustain Quora in Chinese.
The factors in play are:
- cultural bias of VCs funding this (me)
- market niche opportunity (me, Josephine Stefani)
- googlability opportunity (Clarissa Lohr)—external searchers via Google being more critical for profitability than registered users
The factors are I believe of increasing importance from top to bottom.
- Cultural bias: Eurocentric, Islamophobic, and maybe still dismissive of Orkut: next up is Russian, maybe Portuguese.
- Market niche opportunity: Bigger markets: Arabic, Portuguese or Russian. (TheQuestion in Russian may be too well entrenched a competitor already.) Regional niches: Malay/Indonesian, Persian, Swahili. (Hindi not enough of a competitive niche, given the widespread use of English.)
- Googlability: Clarissa identified that anyone who is likely to register on Quora already knows English well; but lots of people google in German, including those not confident in English. I’m not sure which market the Googles pick up most, but I suspect it’s Russian and Arabic.
- EDIT: Correct that, per Josephine’s https://insurgency.quora.com/Cla… . Russian, Japanese.
My guess from all the above: unless they’re spooked by TheQuestion, and their VCs still hold a grudge against Orkut, Eurocentrism will again prevail, bolstered by the googlability argument: Russian and Portuguese.