Choo was born in Penang, Malaysia, into a Hakka family of shoemakers. His family name is Chow (Chinese: 周) but was misspelled on his birth certificate as Choo. He studied at Shih Chung Primary School in Love Lane, Penang. Choo’s father, a shoemaker who made all of his shoes by hand, taught him how to make shoes. Choo made his first pair of shoes when he was 11 years old, a pair of slippers.