You’re Fired – HK Chow Tai Fook’s Deputy PR Head, Joanna Kot, Axed

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Oct 06 2014
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Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd is both Hong Kong and world’s biggest listed jewelry chain, with a market capitalization of a whopping US$15.78 billion (as of May 2014). The jewellery retailer is owned by Cheng Yu Tung, Hong Kong’s fifth richest person with a net worth of US$15.5 billion. The empire has 36,100 employees, annual sales of US$9 billion and over 2,100 shops in mainland China, Malaysia and Singapore.

Chow Tai Fook - Cheng Yu Tung

Founded in 1929 in the southern Chinese city of GuangZhou, the jeweller was named after founder Chow Chi-yuen and “Tai Fook” was used as it means “big blessing” in Chinese. The company’s latest net income for the year ended March jumped to HK$7.3 billion (US$940 million; £583 million; RM3 billion) from HK$5.51 billion a year earlier. In 2010, the company purchased a 507-carat diamond for US$35.3 million, setting a new record for the highest price paid for a rough diamond.


But the moment peaceful protesters took to the street and occupy it for more than a week until today, about 30 Chow Tai Fook stores were affected, especially those located in Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Tsim Sha Tsui. A senior economist at ANZ Banking Group estimated that the protests had cost retailers HK$2.2 billion (US$280 million; £175 million; RM920 million), representing 6% of monthly retail sales.

Chow Tai Fook - Outlet Closed

However, it wasn’t the protest that has Chow Tai Fook (周大福) top management worry about their company sales. Instead, it was one of their 36,100 staffs who could potentially bring disaster to the company’s profit – Joanna Kot (葛梅珍). Apparently, Joanna who has worked at Chow Tai Fook for two years and eight months as the deputy head of public relations and media mocked those who were beaten or molested by anti-Occupy crowds.

Chow Tai Fook - Woman Protester Sexually Assaulted

Kot’s inflammatory posts on Facebook were as follows:

Assaulted? It’s late by a few days already! You all saw it! If there’s a problem, you [protesters] want the police, if there’s no problem you say they are bad guys. If you’re all that, then leave by yourself. Citizens of Mong Kok are only repaying you in the same way.”

“Molested? Remember not to report to the police; revolution requires sacrifice, fighting for democracy is above the law.

“Those anti-Occupiers are “peacefully” molesting you. You should be understanding! LOL!”

Chow Tai Fook - Deputy Head of Public Relations Joanna Kot 

Although she has since deleted the page, not to mention her Facebook and LinkedIn accounts, her distasteful comments which earned massive criticisms have now spread to Chow Tai Fook’s own Facebook. With thousands calling for a boycott of the jewellery company’s products, it’s not hard to understand why the top management has decided to (quietly) ask Joanna Kot to resign voluntarily.


Before Joanna Kot’s resignation, Chow Tai Fook had made a statement on its Facebook page distancing the company from her remarks:

It is with much regret that the words posted by one of our staff members on her personal Facebook account have aroused discontent among members of the public.

We hereby clarify that any individual staff’s personal words and opinions have no relation with the company and do not represent the company’s stand. Your attention and understanding are much appreciated.”

Chow Tai Fook - Facebook Statement of Clarification 

Below is Joanna Kot’s LinkedIn short profile before she deletes her account:

  • Current Job:
    • Deputy Head of Public Relations & Media at Chow Tai Fook
  • Past Job:
    • PR & Communication Manager at Lanvin Asia Pacific Ltd
    • Marketing Manager at Guess Asia Ltd
    • Assistant PR & Advertising Manager at The Swank Shop Ltd
    • Public Relations Assistant at Louis Vuitton Pacific Ltd
  • Education
    • Kiangsu-Chekiang College
    • Curtin University of Technology

Chow Tai Fook - Human Resources Confirming Joanna Kot Resignation

A screen capture from Chow Tai Fook’s human resources department confirmed that Joanna Kot resigned on her own accord. Sure, who would resign voluntarily from such a high-paying position, if not being asked to do so by the big boss. It’s either she resigns with a little honour’s left, or sacked for bringing shame to the company’s image with potential millions of dollars in losses due to boycott by thousands of consumers.

Chow Tai Fook - Outlet

The threat of boycotting Chow Tai Fook was so real that its rival, another jewellery player Chow Sang Sang was joked by a commenter as thanking Chow Tai Fook for giving away freely a year of future business – referring to angry people flocking to Chow Sang Sang instead of Chow Tai Fook. It is understood the company is on the hunt for Joanna Kot’s replacement. And we hope Joanna Kot understand that “Money Talks, Bullshit Walks” applies even to her former company.


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