Hong Kong's biggest corporate players are awarding traditional year-end performance bonuses this year, even as the local economy struggles, unemployment remains high and other companies pare back salaries and staff. Among the blue chips, employees at Hutchison Whampoa and Sun Hung Kai Properties were paid their bonuses before Christmas, while Jardine Group will dispatch its bonus next month. Hutchison continued to give at least an extra month, or in some cases 'several months' for high-performing staff, despite a difficult economic environment causing many Hong Kong companies to abandon the traditional 13th-month system. The payment was said to be 'unchanged' from last year, according to various sources from Hutchison and its subsidiaries. Hutchison, which operates a range of businesses such as ParknShop, AS Watson, Hutchison Telecom and Hutchison International Terminals, employs about 60,000 staff in Hong Kong, including its associates and affiliated companies. One staff member said: 'Given the poor environment, there is no complaint. In fact, I am very thankful.' Another added that the firm had been trying to maintain bonuses this year. A SHKP spokesman confirmed that most of its 17,000 employees in Hong Kong received a performance bonus this year. Jardine Matheson, which has some 47,000 staff in businesses from Wellcome, Mannings and Hongkong Land to the Mandarin Oriental, said it would let different operating units decide on their own compensation method, but 'most do a 13th monthly bonus, while some are moving towards performance-based bonuses'. 'Generally speaking, there was some form of payment to employees,' Jardine Matheson company secretary Neil McNamara said. At Hutchison, staff from different divisions said many managerial workers were contracted for at least a two-month discretionary bonus. Some at company headquarters and the port division were awarded more than five months bonus this year, which could reflect a strong performance at its ports, telecommunications, retail and energy businesses. Last year, Hutchison made HK$12 billion in profits, and the consensus for this year was HK$10.4 billion. Staff at New World Development and Wharf (Holdings) said they were not told about cancelling the traditional 13th month bonus this year. Among smaller companies economic difficulties are hurting. About 600 Hong Kong employees at loss-making mobile-phone service provider Sunday Communications were told they would lose their jobs if they did not accept new contract terms including a pay cut of up to 25 per cent.