2016-05-24 12:26:21

Hard work, long hours, and still no bonus — reason enough for one Chinese stockbroker to turn the industry’s anguish into poetry this week.

An employee of China Merchants Securities Co. Ltd., one of China’s top integrated securities firms, on May 22 posted a pyramid-shaped poem to protest not receiving a yearly bonus on Wumii, an app for anonymous discussion and sharing, according to an article by Sixth Tone’s sister publication The Paper. Translated, the poem reads:

Send Money
Quick, send money 
China Merchants Securities
You abandon your employees
Force them adrift without speaking
How often have I worked until dawn?
I’ve been poor and struggling for half a year
I’ve moved heaven and earth for clients and bosses
I want my life to reach the peak of money-earning potential
But when I wake up and turn my wallet out, I see nothing
Investment bankers, I’ll see you on Tuesday
You’ve been blowing your own trumpet 
You’re truly like Qingdao’s prawns
Spread out over a vast expanse
The emperor’s new clothes
Wearing only a fig leaf
Do you feel shame?

The poem received messages of support from users who said they worked in the same industry.

A representative of China Merchants Securities’ public relations department who declined to be identified told Sixth Tone by phone on Tuesday morning that it is not correct to claim employees are owed money. “Bonuses are given in May each year, but not at a precise time,” they said.

The representative also said that Wumii is used by people who want to complain anonymously. China Merchants Securities employs more than 10,000 people nationwide. The representative believes that of such a large number, “It’s probable that a few employees will whine and complain about something.”

According to the representative, the securities market in China is not in trouble. “Year on year, profits in the industry, and for our company, are increasing,” they said.

Still, it’s been a rocky 12 months for China’s stock market. Following a long period of what seemed like unstoppable growth, share prices on the Shanghai stock exchange crashed last June, falling by over 30 percent. Prices eventually rallied as the year progressed, though they didn’t reach the heights of preceding years. Then in January, the Shanghai stock exchange experienced another shock when it dropped 7 percent.

But volatility hasn’t stopped securities companies from achieving impressive growth in profits. In April, data showed that last year, 21 securities companies in China doubled their profits from the previous year. But in 2016, worries about a bearish market are taking root. Rumors abound that layoffs are imminent, or already underway, at China’s major securities companies.

Net users have reacted to workers in finance complaining about smaller bonuses with incredulity.

“Some people last year were earning 50,000 yuan a month. That’s more than most people make in a year,” said one user of microblogging platform Weibo. 

“Damn, when wages were high you didn’t say a thing,” said another user. “Things are still much better than in many other industries, and you want to act like this?”

Additional reporting by Wang Lianzhang.

(Header image: An investor monitors stock information at a brokerage house in Wuhan, Hubei province, Aug. 19, 2011. Stringer/Reuters)