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China: Around The Nation

Want to lose weight? Chinese firm pays its staff 100 yuan for every kilogram they shed

Employees have to lose a minimum of 3kg to qualify for the award, which has seen great success in the company

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 11 May, 2017, 1:31pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 11 May, 2017, 1:30pm

A Chinese firm has started a programme that financially rewards its staff for losing weight – but the company’s overweight boss has not been able to slim down himself.

The programme started by Xian Jingtian Investment Consulting in Xian, Shaanxi province, rewards each employee with 100 yuan (HK$113, US$14) for every kilogram of weight they shed, provincial news site CNWest.com reported on Wednesday.

The monthly weight-loss competition, aimed at promoting “healthy weight loss”, was launched in March. The minimum weight loss to qualify for the cash reward is 3kg, the report said.

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Employee Zhou Wei said that so far, more than half of all staff members had been able to collect the “weight-loss award” every month.

She herself had lost 20kg in the past two months, earning 2,000 yuan in bonuses, she said. The report did not say how much she weighed previously.

“Today, I made fried mushrooms and eggs,” she said. “Before, I definitely had to have meat, I would have meat every meal.”

On top of changing her diet, Zhou also started going to the gym every day to speed up her weight loss.

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The company’s boss, chairman Wang Xuebao was quoted as saying: “[The results of the programme] have far exceeded my expectations.

“I was distressed because our company’s employees are often sitting in the office, and they don’t move around enough – myself included – so they are overweight. Through this weight-loss activity, we can form a culture and engage in healthy competition.”

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Wang, however, has not been able to slim down himself, despite being the brainchild of the initiative.

He said his goal was to shed some weight so that he, too, could qualify for the weight-loss award. His weight was not disclosed in the report.

Chinese internet users joked about how much money they could earn if they worked at the Wang’s company.

But experts have pointed out the dangers of institutionalising evaluations of people’s appearances, which could cause dieting or exercise at unhealthy levels.

The firm’s novel weight-loss incentive scheme is the latest example of China’s intense scrutiny over body image.

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Many Chinese people are under societal pressure to maintain “ideal” body sizes, with experts warning that this creates a negative and often unattainable target for people’s physical appearances.

Social media trends often also highlight Chinese people’s desire for slimmer bodies, with women comparing their waist sizes against sheets of A4 paper, wrist sizes to 100-yuan bank notes, and even horizontal lengths across one’s knees with the size of an iPhone.