Chinese white-collar workers seek higher salaries

09:45, April 12, 2010      

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A new office trend has sprung up this year among Chinese white-collar workers involving the posting of photos of former Miss Hong Kong Li Jiaxin in their offices and making her picture their computer desktop image.

It is not that they are necessarily infatuated with her beauty. Rather, it is a humorous way of reminding their bosses about salary increases because the pronunciation of Jiaxin is the same as the Chinese phrase for pay rise.

There are also millions of teacups on sale imprinted with the slogan "I need a salary increase" at, Chinese largest e-shopping site. Many white-collar workers have placed them prominently on their desks or take them to meetings with their bosses.

Song Xi, a 27-year-old analyst working in Shanghai, said: "Of course, it is just a way that young Chinese - including me - are entertaining themselves. Most bosses still retain a distant look.

"I have been working at this consultancy for four years. In 2009, for the first time, I didn't get any salary increase. It used to be a 10 to 15 percent rise every year."

According to a recent survey by, a human resource service firm based in Beijing, around 66.3 percent of 6,000 respondents didn't get any increase in their salary in 2009.

The financial crisis placed a big burden on Chinese white-collar workers. About 41.1 percent of the survey respondents felt very unsatisfied with their salary in 2009 and 21.7 percent of them said that a pay rise was their top expectation this year.

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