This company’s top executive was paid a whopping $40 million last year

Image: yi shu ng/mashable

Tencent, one of China’s biggest internet companies, is paying out some serious salaries.

The company, which owns the country’s most used messenger app, WeChat, paid an undisclosed employee some $40 million (HKD 311 million) in salary and bonus in 2016, according to a company filing [pdf] with the Hong Kong stock exchange.

That’s higher than the top salary of $35 million (HKD 274 million) it paid out to one individual in 2015.

To put the top-earning $40 million in perspective, Apple’s highest paid executive, senior vice president of retail, Angela Ahrendts, made $22.9 million in 2016.

Other Western company salaries that came close to the Tencent remuneration come from enterprise tech firms. Last year, Amazon Web Services CEO, Andrew Jassy, made $35.6 million, and IBM chief Ginni Rometty made $32.7 million.

Who was Tencent’s top-earner?

Industry insiders speculate that it’s likely Tencent’s chief operating officer Mark Ren Yuxin, vice president Zhang Xiaolong, or chief information officer Xu Chenye.

Ren is the head of the company’s lucrative online games business, and Zhang leads WeChat. Xu manages PR and community relations, and is one of the early founding team members.

The filing also revealed that three other employees at Tencent earned $29.7 million (231 million HKD) and $33.8 million (263 million HKD) in 2016.

There are 889 million monthly active users on WeChat.

Earlier in April, Tencent became the first Asian and the first non-American firm to make the list of top 10 most valuable public companies. In making the list, it kicked Wells Fargo off, joining the likes of Apple, Alphabet, Johnson & Johnson, and Exxon Mobil.

Tencent is riding a huge wave of popularity in China, driven by its social apps WeChat and QQ. As at Dec. 31, 2016, Tencent had 889 million monthly active users, and QQ was close at 868 million.

The company’s generosity may play a part in its popularity as an employer, as well. Last year, it was voted top most sought after firm to work for, in a survey conducted by job portal Zhaopin and Peking University.

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