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Economy

Average Chinese executive pay reaches $150,000 mark

Growth, demand for talent driving up senior management salaries in Asia

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Average executive salaries in China rose by 9.1% between 2015 and 2016.   © Reuters

The average salary of China's highest-paid executives topped one million yuan ($147,000) for the first time in 2016, according to a survey by Deloitte.

Average remuneration for the country's best-paid executives grew 9.1% on the year to 1.02 million yuan, the accounting company said in a report based on a survey of 3,115 companies on the Shanghai and Shenzhen exchanges.

Executives in the financial industry continued to lead the pack with an average annual wage of 3.59 million yuan, followed by those in real estate, who made 1.86 million yuan.

Strong economic growth and demand for talent are driving up executive salaries in Asia, Willis Towers Watson said in a study earlier this year.

The risk management firm said growth was especially strong in Hong Kong and Singapore where guaranteed cash -- base salaries plus fixed allowances -- in 2016 was more than 25% higher than the average $233,000 earned in the U.S.

"Compensation for top talent may be more expensive, but the region remains an attractive destination for companies because of the much lower salaries and the availability of skilled workers," said Sambhav Rakyan, the Asia-Pacific practice leader for Willis Towers Watson's Global Data Services division.

Executive compensation has also been rising in Japan.

Based on 1,059 securities filings of listed companies submitted as of Tuesday, Tokyo Shoko Research said the number of executives that received compensation of over 100 million yen in the fiscal year ended March reached 209, compared with 200 for the same period last year.

Leading the pack was Nikesh Arora, a former Google executive who stepped down as SoftBank Group's No.2 last year. His compensation totaled 10.34 billion yen in the year ended March 31, setting a new record high.

Looking at individual companies, trading house Itochu was on top of the list with 11 executives hitting the 100 million yen mark, compared with three last year, while Sony followed with 10 -- up three from the previous year.

TSR said the increase in higher-paid executives was a reflection of how Japan in the past several years was shifting to a more performance-based salary system, and the increasing prominence of non-monetary compensation like stock options and stock-based rewards.

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