The development of near-infrared (NIR) organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) is of growing interest. Donor–acceptor (D–A) chromophores have served as an important class of NIR materials for NIR OLED applications. However, the external quantum efficiencies (EQEs) of NIR OLEDs based on conventional D–A chromophores are typically below 1 %. Reported herein is a butterfly-shaped D–A compound, PTZ-BZP. A PTZ-BZP film displayed strong NIR fluorescence with an emission peak at 700 nm, and the corresponding quantum efficiency reached 16 %. Remarkably, the EQE of the NIR OLED based on PTZ-BZP was 1.54 %, and a low efficiency roll-off was observed, as well as a high radiative exciton ratio of 48 %, which breaks through the limit of 25 % in conventional fluorescent OLEDs. Experimental and theoretical investigations were carried out to understand the excited-state properties of PTZ-BZP.