Tencent’s WeChat Pay team has won the company’s RMB 200 million (USD 28.5 million) Founders Award, according to Chinese media outlet Pear Video, which recorded part of Tencent’s 2019 annual staff meeting held on Thursday.
As the WeChat Pay team is currently composed of 1,000 members, this means that each employee will get as much as RMB 200,000 per person (USD 28,500), in addition to 10 months’ salary compensation as their year-end bonus.
Information on this year’s Founder Award was first leaked on Maimai, China’s career-focused social platform, by a user identified as a Tencent employee. The leakage soon aroused wide discussions among employees from companies including Alibaba, ByteDance, and Xiaomi, who posted bitterness comments about Tencent’s attractive prize. An Alibaba employee just called himself a fool by once rejecting a work offer from WeChat Pay, while a Baidu employee wrote “lemons, lemons”, which in China implies “I am jealous.”
At the end of 2018, Tencent reported 54,309 employees and a company’s total remuneration cost of RMB 42.2 billion, which indicates that the yearly average salary at Tencent reached RMB 776,120, or RMB 64,676 per month, according to the company’s 2018 financial report. According to state media China Daily, the average monthly salary in China was RMB 8,452 yuan (USD 1,228) in 37 major cities during the second quarter of 2019, topping 10,000 yuan in major cities like Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen.
WeChat Pay, which was rolled out in August 2013, has grown fast to almost reach Alipay, which went online in October 2004. The two payment platforms dominate more than 90% of the mobile payments market in China. Alipay currently has more than 53% market share in Q1 2019, while Tencent’s mobile payment reached about 40%, according to the firm iResearch.
WeChat Pay has enabled international travelers in China to access a series of its services and payment options by teaming up with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover Global Network, and Japan’s JCB since early November, KrASIA reported. In addition, WeChat Pay has been available in 49 markets outside the Chinese mainland, supporting cross-border payment transactions in 16 currencies, said Tencent in its 2018 financial report.
Tencent’s Founders Award is designed to recognize “those who represent the spirit of the company’s founders by making milestone achievements” says the company. The team of mobile game Honor of Kings won the Founders Award in 2017 as the game, which was released in 2015, turned out to be one of the world’s most commercially successful mobile games in history. According to Nomura, a Japanese investment bank, Honor of Kings raked in about RMB 7 billion (just over USD 1 billion) in February alone.
In addition to the Founders Award, Tencent Cloud’s team members have also been honored and each of them will get one iPhone Pro, which is valued at about RMB 10,000, as the cloud gaming unit’s revenue has surpassed RMB 10 billion this year.