Staff Reporters
Feb 8, 2023

Women to Watch Greater China 2023: Zoe Chou, Tencent

As the PR head of the WeChat team, Chou’s work over a decade has built a massive online communication empire for Tencent, not just in China and worldwide.

Women to Watch Greater China 2023: Zoe Chou, Tencent
Celebrating outstanding talent in marcomms

Zoe Chou

Director of Tencent WeChat strategic research institute and WeChat PR centre

After more than a decade of service in building WeChat’s (Weixin, in the Chinese mainland market) reputation, it’s hard to quantify all the many ways in which Zoe Chou has helped the brand. The messaging and payments super app, which reached over 1.2 billion monthly active users in 2022, is still the envy of global social media networks. 

Studied as a global digital success story at Harvard Business School, thanks to her efforts, Chou has shepherded the brand to become China’s most highly-ranked among Top 1000 brands in Asia, Campaign Asia’s annual brands' list in partnership with NielsenIQ.

WeChat’s long brand-building road has been formed by the laying of many bricks, often in the forms of new partnerships and initiatives, many of which have her stamp on them. Chou, for example, started cooperating with China Central Television’s annual Chinese New Year’s Eve Gala in 2015. This saw millions among the TV audience join the WeChat Red Packets campaign, which opened new opportunities for Tencent’s Fintech channel, WeChat Pay. She also led the PR and marketing team for the WeChat Open Class Pro roadshow, and transformed it into one of Tencent’s annual centrepieces as an internet products show, just as the Worldwide Developers’ Conference is for Apple. 

As the PR team leader, Chou’s remit and passion extends well beyond business growth. She leads the team to maximise the digital platform’s social values, adhering to Tencent’s ‘Tech for Good’ philosophy.

WeChat, together with QQ and other platforms from Tencent, has been making active efforts to improve product accessibility with offerings such as the ‘Screen Reader’ feature and voice-to-text conversion, helping physically challenged people access information and communicate. The project helped Tencent win UNESCO’s Prize for Digital Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in 2018. 

In another example, Chou leveraged the power of billions of users, planning livestreams with almost 100 state-owned enterprises through mini programmes to sell agricultural products and support farmers in rural areas. She also initiated a reading equality project for children in rural areas to provide extracurricular reading guidance and digital reading spaces. As of August 31, 2022, the Knowledge Starlight project has donated about 688,753 books and built 99 reading rooms, benefitting 794 rural schools in 10 provinces. 

As a female leader, Chou pays special attention to DEI and women’s programmes, planning female influence forums on the WeChat ecosystem to reach a broader range of women and audiences. She believes that the PR team should be a strategic partner to the business and insists on innovating in her own work. Her team's open and honest atmosphere has helped her acquire new talents. Chou’s team members called her “a stepmother at work and the real mother for life”.

In her spare time, Chou was invited as a lecturer at Tsinghua University and Fudan University. She also served as special judge for several international marketing awards.

Celebrating outstanding talent in marcomms


Related Articles

Just Published

36 minutes ago

WPP's Mark Read sees pay package surge

The holding company's resurgence has resulted in a near-doubling of Read's compensation.

43 minutes ago

Mango and other ‘masstige’ brands shutter after ...

Counting their losses in China, affordable fashion and beauty brands are recalibrating their business strategies and turning to the US for expansion.

51 minutes ago

The We ❤️ NYC campaign which didn't get much love

Brand creatives and New Yorkers alike wonder who truly owns a mark that’s become emblematic of the city itself.

1 hour ago

Mullen Lintas ropes in Meta's Ram Jayaraman as CCO ...

The creative strategist of Meta takes on the role previously held by Garima Khandelwal, who has moved on from the company.