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Chinese Economists on Compensation Reform in State Owned Enterprises

China Economic Online published an article on the general concern that reform is needed in setting the annual compensation scale for the top managers in State Owned Enterprises (SOE). According to the article, those managers are paid, on average, five times more than their peers in private sectors. In addition, their compensation does not line up with their job performance. The SOE’s are also under the management of the State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC). The article said that the commission’s effort to reshape the board of directors in SOE’s has been unsatisfactory so far. It quoted one Chinese economist who stated that the compensation adjustment effort will involve changes in other areas first: who should set the pay scale and who can make the final call – the board of directors or SASAC? According to the economist, it requires that the government function should be separated from the enterprise management. "The enterprise should be under the management of diversified equity and mixed ownership." He recommended that, "The board members in the SOE’s should be independent, professional, and have accountability."

According to the article, based on the list of compensation in 2013 for the board of directors of the SOE’s, as published by China Economic Research Institute, 259 SOE’s are publicly traded companies. The average annual compensation in 2013 for 83 of the chairmen of the board who received compensation was 840,630 yuan (US$136,894) while 19 of them had annual compensation of over one million yuan (US$162,853). The top management in the financial and banking industry had the highest pay with annual income averaging 940,000 yuan (US$153,077), while the chairmen of the board and bank CEOs were paid at 1.71 million (US$ 278,470) and 2.35 million (US$382,692) respectively.

Source: China Economic Online, September 21, 2014