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Roy Zhou, MBA 06, did not intend to return to China immediately upon graduating from Haas, but Google had other plans.
The Internet giant recruited Zhou right out of school and dispatched him back to Beijing to build a team from the ground up to help expand Google’s advertising partnerships in “the fastest growing industry in the fastest growing market.”
Now hundreds of thousands of websites in China use Google’s AdSense products, which include ads based on Web content and a Google search bar embedded on a Web page.
Such success depended on localizing Google’s services for a Chinese audience while still keeping the product consistent, Zhou says.
“In the U.S., the Internet is very content- or information-centric, while in China it’s very entertainment-centric,” he says. Consequently, Zhou expanded AdSense services into video and gaming websites frequented by so many young Chinese. Zhou also launched road shows to introduce AdSense to potential partners unfamiliar with Google’s products.
“We saw a huge jump in partner signups to our network, leading to a huge increase in our business in China,” Zhou says, noting that Google later duplicated the road-show approach in the U.S. and Europe.
In September Zhou left Google for Yoyi, whose video and rich media advertising platforms are used in China by such companies as Audi, Microsoft, and Nokia. As president, Zhou oversees sales, marketing, finance, and investor relations at the 500-employee startup.
It’s all a far cry from Zhou’s scenic hometown of “Thousand Island Lake” in the country’s southeast, and his undergraduate studies at Hohai University in nearby Nanjing, where he earned his computer engineering degree. As
he developed an interest in business, Zhou worked for Sun Microsystems and 3Com. Yet for all his real-world experience, Zhou felt the need for a formal business education.
“I’m a typical tech guy. I come from a very strong IT background,” he says. “I loved the way Haas has a focus on technology innovation to change people’s worlds.” The convergence of business and technology a stone’s throw from Silicon Valley sealed the deal.
Zhou credits his accomplishments in tech to his time at Berkeley-Haas: “Without the Haas experience, I don’t think I could have achieved so much or have been so successful in all the things I’ve done so far.” —Caroline Killmer