Shaun Rein

“How much do you earn?” That is one of the surprising questions Chinese strangers can ask you. But they might not only expect a figure, but a conversation, as a salary in China is very complicated feature, explains business analyst Shaun Rein in NPR’s Marketplace.


Perks on top of your salary are one of the country’s dirty secrets in government-run organizations:

Shaun Rein: Many companies offer automobiles, houses, they even pay for gym memberships for their executives. And this should all get counted as income from employees, but it doesn’t.

Shaun Rein is author of the book “The End of Cheap China.” He says there’s a reason a monthly paycheck in China looks like calculus homework.

Rein: What happens is a lot of companies will use benefits as a tax write-off, which is why you have a lot of employees who make $300 a month driving Bentleys, because the companies are able to use the purchase price of the Bentley as a 100 percent tax write-off.

With visions of company-issued Bentleys dancing in their heads, top Chinese college graduates are increasingly choosing jobs at state-owned enterprises over multinationals.

More in NPR’s market place.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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