Alibaba is best-paying tech firm in China but Oppo, Tencent more generous with bonuses, survey finds

·3-min read

Alibaba Group Holding is the best-paying tech company in China with an average monthly salary of 33,500 yuan (US$5,000), ahead of ByteDance and Tencent Holdings that offer average monthly wages of 32,800 and 30,800 yuan respectively, according to Chinese career and social-networking platform Maimai.

The data, compiled from a survey of more than 5,000 Maimai users with a verified employment record, was not confirmed by the companies, but offers an overall picture of how much young Chinese tech professionals earn.

In terms of annual bonuses last year, the most generous companies were smartphone maker Oppo, Tencent Holdings, and Ant Group, according to Maimai. Alibaba, which owns the South China Morning Post, ranked No 4 on the bonus list with an average payout of 170,900 yuan, while Huawei Technologies Co paid an average bonus of 168,600 yuan, according to the data published on Tuesday.

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Didi Chuxing, the ride-hailing giant that will soon delist from the New York Stock Exchange in response to Beijing’s concerns over data security, was in tenth spot with an annual bonus of 102,800 yuan.

The amounts are significantly higher than China’s official per capita income, indicating the attractiveness of working in the tech sector despite regulatory crackdowns over the past year. According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, the average nationwide, annual per capita disposable income for 2021 was 35,128 yuan, equivalent to about a month’s salary at one of the Big Tech firms.

However, pay levels at Big Tech companies are coming under pressure. More than 35 per cent of the surveyed professionals in China’s internet and information technology sector said they received a smaller bonus this year compared to the year before, while 33 per cent did not see a change. The remainder said they received more than the year before, according to the report.

An Oppo Find N foldable smartphone seen at MWC Barcelona, Feb. 28, 2022. Photo: Bloomberg
An Oppo Find N foldable smartphone seen at MWC Barcelona, Feb. 28, 2022. Photo: Bloomberg

“The size of an annual bonus reflects a company’s financial performance, which is also an important symbol of an industry’s rise and fall, and can even act as a barometer of the economy”, said Lin Fan, founder and chief executive of Maimai.

Beijing’s crackdown on the internet sector since late 2020, including antitrust punishment, strict private tutoring regulations and overseas listing restrictions, has cast a long shadow over the country’s employment market. The situation only eased recently when the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference held a special symposium in May to promote the digital economy.

The Maimai survey found that one third of millennials, now in their 30s and many with family responsibilities, would not quit their jobs, even if they were not satisfied with their bonus. However, more than half of the Gen Z respondents said they would “immediately resign or actively look for opportunities” if their bonus was cut.

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