China’s best-paid banking boss only made $185,000 last year

Image: AP Photo/Kin Cheung
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Jiang Jianqing is China’s most highly-paid banking boss, and the chairman of China’s most profitable bank: Industrial and Commercial Bank of China raked in a handsome $38.5 billion in profits last year. As such he is in the crossfire for critics who say the executives at state-owned Chinese firms are making too much money.

But here’s the thing: Jiang only made $185,000 a year. As the Financial Times notes, that’s less than 1% of the pay package of Goldman Sachs boss Lloyd Blankfein. And at least on a dollar-adjusted basis, Jiang is down more than 21% from his 2008 salary of $234,700.

Of course, as Quartz has reported, banking executives in China do not always rely on their salary alone—it is not uncommon for bankers to receive lucrative fringe benefits and accumulate vast wealth. And some state-owned enterprise bosses make considerably more than Jiang. China International Marine Containers president Mai Boliang made $1.6 million last year, even as his company’s profits fell by 47%.

And there is one school of thought that suggests China’s low executive pay rates aren’t a good thing—they make it hard for state-owned enterprises to attract quality managerial talent, and run counter to the idea that higher salaries discourage corruption. That said, don’t expect protesters in the street calling for higher banker salaries any time soon.