E-commerce and mobile internet experts in demand on mainland

IT experts specialising in high-demand fields could earn 30pc more on the mainland than their peers in developed markets, say job firms

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 4:38am

Experienced managers in online marketing, e-commerce and mobile internet operations are expected to be the most in-demand information technology executives in mainland China this year.

Train Luo, the managing partner for China at the New York-based executive search firm CTPartners, said the high demand for these senior managers is likely to result in higher salaries being offered to those tapped for positions on the mainland compared with those in North America or Europe.

"The compensation level could be 10 to 30 per cent higher than in developed markets, including stock options," Luo said. "Companies are racing to tap into new online consumer markets, but are finding it exceptionally hard to find experienced professionals who understand the complex Chinese consumer market and new mobile technology, and how to pull all of that together."

According to CTPartners, the five "most-wanted" senior technology executives on the mainland this year are vice-president of online marketing, head of e-commerce, head of mobile internet, vice-president for research and development on "cloud" technology and country general manager for enterprise technology in storage and security software.

The most active sectors searching for those executives include internet, enterprise technology, consumer goods and retail, and financial services.

Luo said the top seven executive search firms on the mainland earn up to US$20 million a year in retainers to help multinational companies and large domestic enterprises fill their technology-related senior management vacancies.

"That is a rough estimate," he said. "We see this pie getting bigger."

Luo's optimism stems from the mainland's position as the world's fastest-growing market in terms of internet users, e-commerce activity and smartphones.

The mainland's online population swelled to 538 million at the end of June, which represented a user base equal to the combined population of the United States and Brazil, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. That number is expected to reach 800 million by 2015.

The centre also found that the number of people accessing the internet through wireless network-connected devices, such as smartphones and media tablets, climbed to 388 million at the end of June.

JP Morgan has estimated that the gross merchandise value of the mainland's online shopping market will be US$436 billion by 2015, accounting for 8.5 per cent of the country's total retail sales.

Egidio Zarella, a senior partner at KPMG China, said the consultancy's survey of mainland consumers last year found that four out of five respondents were willing to receive advertising on their personal computer or smart mobile device. In addition, two-thirds were willing to have their online usage patterns and personal profile information tracked for advertising.

CTPartners said it expected the other in-demand technology-related jobs this year would involve expertise in sales and marketing programmes.