The government is considering setting salary ceilings for management, concerned that incomes of executives in some companies have reached 10 to 30 times that of their lower-ranking colleagues, the official Xinhua news agency reported on Monday.
"The state-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission is working out a plan to limit the maximum annual salary of the SOE (state-owned enterprise) top management," Xinhua quoted former Shanghai mayor Xu Kuangdi as saying at a panel discussion during China's annual session of parliament.
"The initial standard is likely to be set at no more than 14 times the average salary of ordinary employees," he said.
Average per capita urban incomes are about $1100 a year.
China's state-owned enterprises make up 50% of the country's total industrial fixed assets and many are kept afloat by loans from state banks, leading to public criticism its CEOs are incompetent and overpaid, Xinhua said.
Standardising the system
In his annual work report to parliament on Saturday, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao pledged to continue reform of state-owned enterprises as it sees through market reforms begun more than 20 years ago.
"We will institute a system for annually assigning responsibility for enterprise performance and a system for holding enterprise executives responsible for their work during their terms of service," Wen said in the report.
"We will standardise the system of benefit packages for these executives," he said.