Date
18 December 2017
The firms chaired by Jack Ma (left) and Lee Shau-kee are being notably generous with their staff bonuses this year. Photo: HKEJ
The firms chaired by Jack Ma (left) and Lee Shau-kee are being notably generous with their staff bonuses this year. Photo: HKEJ

Why not a 100-month year-end bonus?

Nothing can make one happier than having a seven-digit cheque deposited in one’s bank account before the Lunar New Year.

Well, I may be daydreaming, but this is what is happening to some executives in Central and certain people in Hangzhou and Shenzhen.

It is thrilling to read that some lucky employees of Henderson Land Development received a 10-month bonus from chairman Lee Shau-kee, who was born 87 years ago today (although Uncle Four, like his peers, will celebrate his birthday on the lunar calendar date in March).

Henderson, the best-performing blue chip last year, sold over HK$13 billion (US$1.68 billion) worth of properties last year.

There may be other developers with better sales, but none seems to be as generous as Uncle Four.

However, his generosity is topped by that of some technology firms in mainland China.

Cogobuy, a Shenzhen-based e-commerce firm, is giving its staff a 12-month bonus, Apple Daily reported.

Still, that is nothing compared with Hangzhou-based Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. One of its employees showed off online, saying his bonus was worth more than 100 months’ pay.

The employee, who made 20,000 yuan (US$3,200) per month, is said to have received 150,000 yuan in cash plus 3,000 shares of Alibaba, worth HK$2.3 million based on yesterday’s closing price.

In another bit of hearsay, an employee of the gaming unit of Shenzhen-based Tencent Holdings Ltd. (00700.HK), where the average staff bonus is 30 months’ pay, got a 96-month bonus.

Despite its modest name, Tencent seems a bit too generous with its staff.

Back at Henderson Land, Lee once said, “It is important for men to get into the right industry and women to marry the right man.”

In this light, the hotel and medical fields are candidates for the right industry, because they gave out an average of 1.92 months’ pay and 1.88 months’ pay respectively, figures from HR Business Solutions Asia show.

Hotels, most operators of which enjoy the luxury of owning rather than leasing their premises, thus escaping the crazy rents that plague retailers, have been consistent in giving out high bonuses, thanks to the influx of record numbers of visitors.

Most hotels, I heard, are giving their staff a bonus of three months’ pay.

In the bigger bonus picture, however, Hong Kong businesses have little to brag about.

They are far from being the most generous employers in Asia, giving out an average of just 1.56 months’ pay.

They rank 13th, behind mainland China (No. 8) and Taiwan (No. 11).

Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Singapore topped the list in the region, where the average bonus is 1.8 months’ pay, HR Business Solutions Asia figures show.

On the other side of the coin, Hong Kong firms, just like their lackluster share prices, had little revenue growth last year, and so can afford little by way of bonus growth.

Companies like Cathay Pacific Airways are giving out only one-month bonuses, and many other companies — especially the big media outlets — are basically giving out no bonus.

So we need more generous bosses, like Uncle Four and Jack Ma, to create a festive mood.

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BK/JP/FL

EJ Insight writer

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