Potential homebuyers look at a property model on display in Shanghai. [Photo by Lyu Liang/For China Daily]

China’s commercial housing market maintained upward momentum in 2020, with sales increasing 8.7 percent to 17.4 trillion yuan ($2.74 trillion). However, tightened regulation along with pandemic impact offered mixed fortune for property developers last year, with executive and employee salaries varying for different enterprises, according to a report of the International Financial News, citing annual reports of the top 50 listed property developers.

Real estate giants Country Garden and Evergrande recorded sales of 788.8 billion yuan and 703.5 billion yuan in 2020, respectively, maintaining their lead among the listed property developers, with their executives topping the salary list, the report said.

Senior executive salaries of Country Garden totaled 288 million yuan in 2020, with president Mo Bin earning 133 million yuan, up 93 percent on a yearly basis, and accounting for 46 percent of total executive salaries of the group.

Evergrande Group offered the highest average salary for top three executives among the listed property developers, with salary of Xia Haijun, CEO of the group, reaching 204 million yuan, including 165 million yuan in salary and 39.33 million yuan in share option scheme.

Senior executive salary of Sunac Group exceeded 200 million yuan last year to 254 million, with salary of Shang Yu, executive director of the group, reaching 44.2 million yuan.

Executives’ salaries of certain property developers saw large fell in 2020, as salaries of CFLD executives dropped 35 percent to 92.4 million yuan from the 141 million yuan in the previous year. Besides CFLD, China Resources, Grandjoy, and Ronshine also lowered salaries for top managers in 2020.

According to the total staff cost revealed by the annual reports of the top 50 listed property developers, compensation expenditures of seven housing enterprises surpassed 10 billion yuan last year, the report said.

The China Railway Construction Corp topped the list with 67.57 billion yuan in total employee salary in 2020. Evergrande and Vanke grabbed the second and third place with total compensation expense at 29 billion and 16.52 billion yuan, respectively.

It is worth noting that salary expense of Vanke and Country Garden declined compared with the year 2019. Salary expenses of Country Garden fell 17.6 percent to 15.7 billion yuan in 2020, with average salary dropping 10.7 percent to 167,200 yuan. Number of employees of the company also reduced almost 8,000 from the 101,784 in the previous year.

Salary expenses of Vanke fell 5.6 percent to 16.52 billion yuan in 2020, making average salary of the company as 117,500 yuan, ranking No 42 among the top 50 enterprises.

The average salary of 40 property developers exceeded 120,000 yuan last year among the top 50, said the report.

The Beijing Capital Development Group took the crown with an average salary at 504,700 yuan; Greentown and Logan Group grabbed the second and third places with average salary at 481,500 and 480,500 yuan, respectively.

CFLD, after experiencing a debt crisis in 2020, witnessed average salary dropping 35.7 percent to 280,100 yuan last year, compared with the 435,300 yuan in 2019, ranking No 12 on the list, still leading many of its counterparts.

Contrary to other property developers which offering comparatively high salaries, the average salary of R&F Group and Yuzhou Group was 99,600 and 64,900 yuan, respectively, ranking 45 and 46 among the top 50.