Staff Reporters
Nov 18, 2020

40 Under 40 2020: Tony Zhang, WE Red Bridge

A young leader who has transformed a struggling office, Tony Zhang shows off formidable business and people-management skills even as he’s been a guiding light for the industry at large.

40 Under 40 2020: Tony Zhang, WE Red Bridge
Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 

Tony Zhang

General manager, Beijing
WE Red Bridge

When Tony Zhang joined WE Red Bridge, its Beijing operations urgently needed fresh ideas to revitalise a struggling office and transform it into an integrated communications agency. To do this, Zhang focused on three areas: capabilities, culture and clients, as he sought to give the office in China’s capital fresh impetus.

On the ground this meant Zhang led the upskilling of staff, increasing digital literacy and planning capabilities across the agency. Developing this new muscle has paid off, resulting in digital services accounting for over 35% of the office’s total revenue, more than doubling year-on-year.

Then, he tamed the Beijing office’s soaring turnover—and significantly improved morale—by introducing a series of employee-friendly measures including weekly training and sharing sessions, Thirsty Thursday team drinks and quarterly team-building offsites. The result? Over the past two years, employee turnover has decreased to 17% and the office’s employee engagement rating improved by 24 points.

Zhang, however, isn’t just a leader in the office. He is also seen as a skilled client counsellor who is adept at pitching and securing business and ensuring campaign delivery. He has both won new business and expanded the remit from key clients, including brands like Allianz, Covestro, Elsevier, FILA and HERE Technologies. Client retention is up to 88% over the past two years, along with a 150%-plus yearly revenue growth for the Beijing business.

Zhang, who has worked with Blue Focus and Weber Shandwick, didn’t make it to this list for his accomplishments at WE alone. Outside of the office, he is also passionate about advancing purpose leadership and developing the next generation of integrated communicators in China. He has led conversations on purpose in China, including a workshop with 30+ CMOs, CCOs and communications directors, to discuss the importance of brand purpose, consumer expectations from brands and purpose-led communication strategy.

Elsewhere, Zhang, in partnership with Chinese PR organisation 17PR, recently hosted a course on team management and project management during COVID-19, attended by over 800 participants. In his spare time, he also offers career guidance and mentorship through Zaihang, a peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing platform, where he has advised over 30 mentees thus far.

Top-tier talent transforming APAC media and marcomms 


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