China Draws Executives From Silicon Valley

China recently published its GDP growth for Q1 of 2015 at 7 percent. While this figure is drastically lower than the double-digit growth seen in previous years, it has still attracted foreign companies to invest and enter into the Chinese technology market.

As a result, salary and compensation packages for executives at Chinese tech companies are approaching those of Silicon Valley, and working for Chinese technology companies is now a viable and competitive alternative for technology executives.

China: The New Silicon Valley?

In the past, the term “local hire” indicated relatively low salaries and benefits as compared to expatriate packages. Today, compensation in China tells a much different story, and “local hire” salaries in China’s technology sector are nearly the same as those seen in Silicon Valley at the senior executive level.


This data reflects corporations with over 1,000 employees. All candidates represented in this graph have a postgraduate master’s degree in engineering or comparable field and cash income is calculated before tax.


The U.S. has a salary benchmark for recent graduates that is US$45,000 higher than salaries paid to recent Chinese graduates. As talent progresses through the levels of leadership, the pay gap decreases significantly, and salaries almost intersect at the Director level.

Beyond fixed cash salaries, several Chinese companies offer allowance quotas available to middle- and senior-level executives, which permit income deductions for housing, food and transportation costs.

These deductions can reach upwards of 30-35 percent. Local Chinese tech companies are employing aggressive compensation strategies to attract talent. Local companies offer incentives that range from a 30 percent increase to doubling a candidate’s current salary.

What Are Tech Companies In China Looking For?

Beyond the standard prerequisites of technical and managerial skills, an attractive candidate for a Chinese technology company must have a strong understanding of diversity. Diversity in this sense is broken down into two classes: work diversity and cultural diversity.

A diverse work experience represents an overseas education or international work experience, and includes working for a large multi-national corporation in China or abroad.

Cultural diversity refers to experience and flexibility in working with different management and leadership styles. For example, large multi-national corporations are known for their strict standard operating procedures; local companies operate with speed, agility and aggressiveness in achieving internal and external goals.

Set a strategic course by selecting the right organization for each stage of your career.

A blend of work diversity and cultural diversity demonstrates substantial competence to a Chinese tech company. An ideal candidate can “localize” strategy for the Chinese market, but also leverage skills learned from a large multi-national corporation.

Planning Career Growth

Positioning oneself as competitive is essential in any fast-paced talent market. Set a strategic course by selecting the right organization for each stage of your career. Learning from large multi-national corporations’ rigorous employee training programs can serve a candidate well early in their career.

Local Chinese companies are known for their “hire ready” strategy, believed to have played a critical factor in their success, and look to large multi-national corporations for strong talent. To remain competitive, a candidate must possess skills and experience developed from both structures.

In a fast-paced market such as China’s technology sector, experienced talent is in high demand and generously compensated. Despite recent economic instability, the overall need for exceptional and competitive talent in China’s technology market remains strong.

Working with a search consultant can guide candidates through the rapidly changing talent market in China, and can help assess new opportunities.