Lei Jun, Xiaomi’s 50-year-old founder and chief executive, received a compensation package of around RMB 10 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2018, a year capped by slowing handset sales in the fourth quarter and weakened share prices.
According to a corporate filing released Monday, Xiaomi’s highest-paid executive raked in at least RMB 9.8 billion in compensation in 2018, which blossomed at least sixty times the record held the prior year—a maximum of RMB 128 million. When contacted by TechNode on Tuesday, a Xiaomi spokesman confirmed the best-paid “employee” was its founder and CEO Lei Jun, but he declined to provide further details.
Xiaomi’s five highest-paid executives made a total of RMB 10.218 billion during the year ended December 31, 2018, more than 50 times the RMB 196 million collectively earned a year earlier. Four of them were paid between around RMB 26 million (HK$30 million) and RMB 86 million (HK$100 million) each in 2018.
In addition to a compensation package including salaries and bonuses totaling RMB 9.4 million, Lei Jun and the four other executives were rewarded RMB 10.2 billion total in share-based compensation. The figure echoes an earlier announcement released in June, when Xiaomi was in the process of going public in Hong Kong. The company said in April 2018 it issued nearly 64 million class B shares to a separate company controlled by Lei Jun “for his contribution to the company.”
Accordingly, the company recorded more than RMB 9.8 billion as share-based compensation expenses for fiscal 2018. The Chinese tech entrepreneur founded Xiaomi in 2010 and made it into the world’s fifth-largest smartphone maker behind Samsung, Apple, and Huawei, and Oppo, according to research firm IDC.
Despite a 41.3% year-on-year growth in its smartphone sales over the past year, Xiaomi smartphone shipments slumped to 25 million units in the fourth quarter, a 12.3% decrease from the same period a year earlier. To address this deceleration, 2019 marks the year that Xiaomi looks beyond smartphone sales to the artificial intelligence of things or AIoT sector, Lei said during a call with analysts in March. The company’s stock prices closed at HK$11.76 on Monday, nearly half of its record high of HK$22.2 in July.