Meet the Female Inventors Behind Tencent Products
Female inventors are significant contributors to global patent applications at Tencent. They have submitted more than 35 percent of our 62,000 applications covering fields such as cloud computing, smart industries, instant messaging, blockchain, multimedia and other internet technologies.
Our investment in research and development (almost US$30 billion in five years and growing) and our diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs have been key to supporting our female employees’ development. As a result, we’ve seen an annual increase of over 20 percent in female patent-inventors at Tencent since 2020.
To mark the annual World Intellectual Property Day and this year’s theme of Women and IP: Accelerating innovation and creativity, we hear from a few of our amazing female inventors. They discuss their role at Tencent, challenges they face, insights on fostering collaboration and creativity, memorable innovations and advice for women wanting to get into the field.
Yingya, Product Manager, Tencent Carbon Neutrality Lab
I joined Tencent four years ago, shortly after the company set up a dedicated team for supporting energy and carbon technologies. As an engineer and product manager, I design digital solutions to empower cities and companies toward net zero emissions. In the meantime, we are trying to speed up the incubation and adoption of low carbon technologies with the aid of digitalization.
A report from the International Energy Agency has found that some 75 percent of emissions reductions necessary to reach net-zero is dependent on technologies which have not yet reached commercial maturity. Carbon Neutrality is by nature an interdisciplinary topic that requires concerted efforts and long-termism. It is necessary for the low carbon technologies to spin off from research labs, receive extensive industrial field tests and scale up. Digitalization can play a role in accelerating the process.
Technology can be a force for good on the pathway towards net zero emissions. I’m committed to being part of this cause with my technical skills.
Arianne, Principal Researcher, Tencent Media Lab
My inventions help prepare industry for the distribution of holographic media that can be used for holographic displays, along with a wide variety of immersive displays such as multiview and sparse light field. The same inventions are also referenced in International Standards that are anticipated to be developed or currently under development in ISO/IEC MPEG.
Having a shared understanding of the end goals, likely challenges, and encouragement to think outside the box are great ways to foster collaboration and innovation. Create a mock-up that describes the main actors and their interactions with their fictional environment or product – like a story book description of what the future will be. Then the fun part is to innovate to turn the story into reality.
Throughout my 30-year career as a female in the tech industry, one of the biggest challenges I have had is finding a female mentor in tech who works for the same company that I do. I have sought to overcome that by expanding my professional network or joining organizations that support women in tech.
My advice to aspiring female inventors: find your passion and love your work. Don’t let anyone stand in your way. Be creative in finding answers. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Don’t be intimidated by big egos. Don’t be afraid to change, and always seek ways to continue to learn.
Alison, Interaction Designer, Experience Design Team
I joined Tencent in 2019 and currently work on the interaction design for games. Among the great female designers I’ve worked with, I found they love new ideas and new games. They think issues through, are altruistic and have strong problem-solving skills.
When we adopt new technologies at work, we need to assess them carefully. To avoid risks, we need to make interactive demos, small-scale continuous evaluations, and anticipate problems before starting the technical process. It is also useful to brainstorm and exchange ideas.
When you come up with a new idea, draft a patent application as soon as possible. Don’t wait, or it may be too late.
Dana, Product Manager, Social Media Platform Department
I am a product manager who has been with Tencent for almost 12 years. Innovation stems from identifying and meeting user needs. It is important to maintain continuous communication with users, closely observe them, and understand their underlying unmet needs.
One of my innovations is a voice message progress bar that indicates the length of a message, which won a micro-innovation award. Users can easily identify useful parts of voice messages, quickly select the starting point for playback using the progress bar, and even choose double-speed playback, thereby significantly enhancing the communication efficiency of voice messages.
I’d like to conduct in-depth research on vulnerable groups such as rural children, people with disabilities, and the elderly, and make innovations that help them.
Emma, Application Researcher, AI Technology Centre
I have been at Tencent for over five years working on AI projects. I have been enjoying the friendly workplace atmosphere. We work independently but participate in project team discussions and provide mutual support to one another. I’m always passionate about new ideas, analyzing existing models to identify areas of improvement and searching for solutions.
Innovation is not limited by gender – anyone can be innovative. Sheryl Sandberg inspires me because she manages the challenge of balancing work and family. She encourages self-awareness and learning from one’s mistakes, and advocates for women in senior positions and gender equality. My advice to future female researchers is to find a supportive social network, mentor or like-minded peers to provide guidance and advice. Pursue justice, share family responsibilities and set achievable goals for work.
Jing, Senior Researcher, Tencent Media Lab
I have nearly a decade of experience in video coding standardization, having worked extensively with HEVC, HEVC SCC extension, VVC and AV2. Having common video formats is essential to ensure interoperability within the industry and between software and hardware.
To innovate, you must be detail-oriented and open minded. Since most of the innovation is to improve the current state of art, deep understanding of the current technology’s pros and cons can lead to new ideas. Sometimes, discussions can inspire new ideas, so being open to discussion and suggestion is crucial as well.
Balancing work with other obligations, such as taking care of my kid, can sometimes be hard. Fortunately, I can seek support from family and colleagues. My advice to budding inventors: remember, your voice and ideas matter, your life has a thousand possibilities, and you can make a difference.
Kris, Interaction Designer, Medical and Health Department
I am an interaction designer in the medical and health business unit of Tencent, motivated by faith and perseverance – believing in myself and sticking to what I think is right.
When I was working on Tencent Health’s medical center maps, I noticed that users were concerned about the queuing times. I recommended that we provide users with estimated wait times. I designed a solution and applied for a patent. When we finally got the data, my solution was quickly implemented, saving time and improving the user experience.
I have applied for tens of patents since joining the company, mainly related to improving design functions. Gender equality, healthy and painless childbirth and issues that affect women’s lives are areas that I would like to conduct in-depth research to create a better future through innovation.
Rebecca, Researcher, Tencent Media Lab
I am a researcher at Tencent Media Lab. My field of interest is 3D data compression, which is essential for next-generation graphics and content. It shows promise in a range of industries including virtual reality, autonomous driving and robotics.
During my research, I have investigated a variety of compression techniques to efficiently handle complex geometry structures and massive attributes. My primary objective has been to establish standardization and facilitate future industrial implementation by devising methods that yield substantial coding gains while maintaining low complexity.
Selyn, Algorithm Engineer, Data Platform Department
I am a graduate recruit working in the Data Platform Department of Tencent Engineering Group. I enjoy sports such as badminton and running and am a foodie too. At work I focus on algorithm research and am responsible for advertising content.
An innovation I’ve worked on is the classification of e-commerce goods, which has more than 5,000 categories. To reduce the high cost of manually labeling all these categories, we used unsupervised pre-training and manually labeled a small batch of training samples. This innovation reduced labor costs and improved accuracy.
The team atmosphere is very positive and supportive. We not only focus on our business tasks, but also participate in technical competitions and pursue technological innovation. When we encounter problems, we communicate in person and collaborate easily and freely.
I am inspired by my female colleagues who each have different strengths. Through them I have improved my work efficiency, boosted my technical knowledge, and improved my communication skills.
Sunnie, Visual Application Engineer, Technical Architecture Department
I work in applied research, specifically in special effects algorithm research for image enhancement. I have been fortunate to work in a positive, cohesive and supportive team atmosphere that fosters knowledge sharing, learning and innovation.
Innovation involves understanding the essence of a problem, analyzing its causes and proposing out-of-the-box solutions. For instance, while developing a camera filter algorithm, we've encountered an issue of makeup sliding up and down due to unclear semantic information of keypoints. As a solution, we proposed a new semantic reshaping approach, which greatly improved the function. We filed a patent because protecting innovation is important for both individuals and companies. It safeguards our core products and technologies, avoids infringement and increases competitiveness and personal value.
To create positive innovations, it’s crucial to identify market demand, integrate cross-domain knowledge, invest in R&D, and consider the social impact to ensure it’s sustainable. My advice to future female researchers is to develop self-confidence, build strong relationships, keep learning, pursue your interests and passions and maintain work-life balance.
Ye, Researcher, Tencent Media Lab
I’ve been a researcher at Tencent Media Lab since July 2020. My area of expertise lies in video coding standards and video codec optimization, with a focus on developing more efficient and advanced video compression techniques that can improve the quality of video streaming while reducing bandwidth usage.
I contributed to the development of the third-generation audio and video encoding and decoding standard (AVS3) with proposals in areas such as optimization for screen content coding and transform coefficient coding.
The greatest challenge I've encountered is developing innovative and efficient proposals within a limited time to ensure adoption into the standard while overcoming scepticism from industry peers.
There will be endless opportunities for innovation within video coding standards and I am thrilled to be a part of this exciting and dynamic field.
Yifang, Product Planner at Tencent Blockchain Team
I work as a product planner at Tencent's Blockchain Team and have been with the company since September 2018. Marie Curieis a woman who inspired my career with her self-confidence, determination, courage in the face of uncertainty, and ability to think independently.
The biggest challenge we face is innovation itself. To be innovative, you must be familiar with the business, understand its pain points, and know when to break from convention. We value patent protection and innovation and our team has contributed a good amount of Tencent's blockchain-related patents.
The future of blockchain technology and Web3 are connected. This new digital ecosystem represents next-generation internet that is truly owned by its users. There are endless opportunities for innovation within this ecosystem, especially in fields such as finance, identity, and information security. Tencent’s blockchain team is constantly exploring opportunities in Web3 and contributing to its digital transformation of the global economy.