Tencent executive earned more than HK$274 million in annual salary, filings reveal – leaving even Canning Fok in the shade

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 28 April, 2016, 7:56pm
UPDATED : Friday, 29 April, 2016, 10:08am

Pay and bonuses at Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings reached new heights last year as one employee took home more than HK$274 million in annual pay while three others brought in more than HK$183 million.

The unnamed employee’s emoluments, show company filings, exceeded that of “King of Employees” Canning Fok Kin-ning, who received HK$210 million from CK Hutchison Holdings last year.

While the identity of the Tencent employee is not known, a source close to the Hong Kong-listed company who declined to be identified said the person is at the senior vice-president level and responsible for government affairs and networking.

The same employee is thought to have received HK$129 million in salary and bonuses in 2014, the source said.

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A spokesperson for Tencent declined to comment.

An employee at Tencent who requested anonymity said the company has a set salary system specifying how much employees will receive at different stages of their careers, and the numbers are “pretty competitive in the industry”.

The person also said the annual bonus, often paid prior to the Lunar New Year holiday, can be higher than an employee’s yearly salary at the company.

Another source familiar with Tencent, who also asked not to be named, said some employees of the WeChat team, which managed to achieve sizeable business growth last year, were paid bonuses of up to 10 to 12 months of their regular monthly salary.

The person added that everyone on the WeChat team received a free iPhone at the team’s year-end gala before the Lunar New Year holiday.

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“Tencent pays its employees like an investment bank,” the person said.

Of the four highest paid employees reported in Tencent’s 2015 annual report released in March, one person was listed as earning between HK$274 million and HK$274.5 million, with a second employee earning between HK$210 million and HK$210.5 million.

Two other employees at a foreign subsidiary of Tencent Holdings took home between HK$183 million and HK$183.5 million last year.

Two employees earned between HK$249 million and HK$249.5 million in 2014, both of whom were employed by a foreign subsidiary, the company’s 2014 report stated.

Tencent employed a total of 30,641 people as of the end of 2015 and reported a total remuneration cost of 18,475 million yuan in the year ending 31 December – up from 15,451 million yuan in 2014, when the company employed 27,690 people.