Asian firms' Lunar New Year bonuses: Rolex watches to six-month salaries

By Phien An   February 7, 2024 | 03:43 pm PT
Asian firms' Lunar New Year bonuses: Rolex watches to six-month salaries
Singaporean content creator Kelvin Tan gifts a Rolex watch to an employee of his company SG Interior KJ. Photo from SG Interior KJ Facebook 
In celebration of the Lunar New Year, several Asian companies have announced lavish rewards, ranging from Rolex watches to payments equivalent to six months' wages.

Singaporean comedian and content creator Kelvin Tan, also known as Mayiduo, attracted attention on social networks late last month when he gifted Rolex watches worth a total of S$150,000 (US$111,500) to seven outstanding employees at his interior design company SG Interior KJ, according to Yahoo News Singapore.

He did the same last year too. The 31-year-old owner shared an Instagram video of his employees picking out the Rolex watches, and said in the caption: "In this current age and time, if you are a boss who keeps all the profits for yourself, you will never go far. Take care of your team and your team will automatically take care of your business."

Lunar New Year bonuses is a common practice in this part of the world, but this year Rolex watches and the six months’ salary Taiwan’s Eva Airways paid are fairly rare.

For Eva, this is the highest it has paid since establishment. Cabin and ground staff also received an average pay hike of NT$5,000 ($160), while pilots got NT$11,000-20,000. The airline achieved a 45.1% increase in consolidated revenues in 2023 to a record NT$200.3 billion ($6.4 billion).

China Airlines offered employees five months’ salary, a cash gift of NT$20,000 and an average salary hike of 4%, according to Taipei Times.

Tigerair Taiwan, whose revenues skyrocketed by 850% to nearly NT$12.5 billion ($400 million), paid employees a four-month bonus.

But overall, bonuses have decreased this year in Taiwan. A survey by human resource and employment service provider 1111 Job Bank in Taiwan, found while 85% of companies are paying bonuses, they are down 3% on average.

For office workers it is 1.32 months’ salary, down 0.02 months.

The business and commercial services sector leads with an average of 1.93 months, followed by the information technology (1.52 months) and consumer services (1.45 months) industries.

1111 Job Bank said business owners adopted a cautious and pragmatic approach due to the recession.

The situation is similar in mainland China. Recruitment portal Zhaopin said the average bonus for office workers decreased as businesses sought to controlled costs amid economic instability.

A survey of some 50,000 employees in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai found only 20.2% sure of getting a bonus, down 6.7 percentage points from last year.

Some 39.4% were not sure and 13.8% said they would not get a bonus. The average bonus expected is CN¥6,950 ($968), down CN¥1,478 ($246). The biggest bonuses are in the media, auto and financial industries.

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