Tencent co-founder Charles Chen Yidan brings his wisdom, warmth and an unexpected sense of levity to Tatler’s Giving Issue

One summer morning, internet trailblazer and philanthropist Charles Chen Yidan, the co-founder of Tencent and founder of the Yidan Prize Foundation, was huddled in quiet conversation with a few members of his team outside a photography studio in a co-working space. As startup founders trickled into the common area, breezing by Charles on their way to the coffee bar, no one seemed to notice one of the world’s pre-eminent tech giants in their midst.

That is Charles’ low-key vibe—something he credits to his loving grandmother and modest upbringing in Shenzhen. Before he arrived in Hong Kong to speak to Tatler about his Yidan Prize Foundation, our team was braced for high-security clearances and prepped to field requests from teams of advisers. Instead, stepping on set in a simple sweater and slacks, Charles, in a soft-spoken voice said, “Do what you will, I trust you. You are the experts.”

See also: 50 Philanthropists In Asia Who Are Changing The World

Charles immediately put our crew at ease, and his relaxed nature buoyed the entire day’s photoshoot. Carrying off looks by Brunello Cucinelli and Loro Piana, Charles smiled warmly at the camera as photographer Jason Capobianco caught his best angles. In one candid shot, Charles, wearing a Giorgio Armani suit, threw his arms up in a jolly, welcoming gesture.

The image became one of our favourites, because it embodies the tech magnate’s magnanimous spirit. He may be one of the most powerful men in China, but he is also, as you will learn in our cover story, one of its most generous.

READ OUR COVER STORY WITH CHARLES CHEN YIDEN

 

  • PhotographyJason Capobianco
  • StylingRosana Lai
  • HairWendy Lee
  • Photographer's AssistantRicky Wong
  • Stylist's AssistantMira Uttamchandani
  • OutfitLoro Piana