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Chinese sides use bonuses as key to motivate players

Starting with Guangzhou Evergrande’s ascendancy to the Chinese Super League, there’s been a lot of focus on win bonuses. These are common in China (and probably in the rest of the world as well) where a certain amount is divided between the squad, getting a percentage based on if they scored, if they started, or if they were subbed in. Here’s a list of the bonuses earned by each team through the first five matches of the season.

1. Guangzhou Evergrande
Total bonuses: RMB9 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB3 million

Evergrande bonuses are simple enough, win and they get RMB3 million, lose and you get RMB2 million deducted from the bonus payout, tie and you get nothing. With three wins and one draw so far, they’re leading the league in bonuses at this point.

2. Shandong Luneng
Total bonuses: RMB8 million
Bonus in Round 5: 0

Unlike with other teams, Luneng bases things on achievement over time. If they get over five points or more over four matches, they can earn RMB1 million in bonuses, if they reach 10 points, they get RMB5 million or more, surpass that and they earn over RMB5 million. The team’s off to a flying start with 12 points in their first four matches, earning them RMB8 million.

3. Shanghai Shenhua
Total bonuses: RMB5 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB1.5 million

They might seem cash strapped, failing to pay out salaries to their foreign players and ignoring a league fine, but Shenhua’s number three in bonuses. The players are awarded RMB1.5 million for a win, RMB800,000 for an away draw, and RMB40,000 for a home draw. With their success so far this season, it looks like Zhu Jun will really need to pony up some money.

4. Qingdao Jonoon
Total bonuses: RMB4.7 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB800,000

Qingdao has shocked everyone, currently sitting top of the league, but their bonuses can’t compare to the bigger sides. The club brings in RMB800,000 per win, but if they can string together a winning streak, that RMB800,000 goes up another RMB400,000 per win. For draws, the side gets RMB300,000 each match.

5. Beijing Guoan
Total bonuses: RMB4.7 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB200,000

The Men in Green have gotten off to a good start so far this year and are in fifth when it comes to bonuses. Wins get them RMB1 million, while draws only bring in RMB200,000. However, to get the team motivated for “big matches” (ie Evergrande), if the opponent’s bonus is RMB3 million, Guoan will give their side RMB 3 million if they win that match.

6. Guizhou Renhe
Total bonuses: RMB3 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB3 million

Renhe have set up a very complex bonus systems, for ACL home matches it’s “310”, RMB3 million for wins, RMB1 million for draws, and nothing if they lose while away matches is “520”. Further, if they get out of the group stage, they’ll earn RMB8 million as an additional bonus, even topping the RMB6 million Evergrande players can bring in. For domestic matches, it’s a lot harsher, a “303” setup, with RMB3 million for victories and RMB3 million deducted for losses.

7. Liaoning Whowin
Total bonuses: RMB2.6 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB800,000

The Shenyang based side is once again off to a great start and bringing in bonus money galore. The club earns RMB800,000 for wins and an additional RMB200,000 if they win multiple matches in a row. They also earn RMB400,000 for away draws and RMB200,000 for home ones.

8. Hangzhou Greentown
Total bonuses: RMB2.4 million
Bonus in Round 5: 0

Hangzhou has had some struggles so far, but haven’t done so bad when it comes ot bringing in bonus money, coming in eight. The side gets RMB1 million per victory and then RMB600,000 or RMB400,000, respectively for away and home draws.

9. Jiangsu Sainty
Total bonuses: RMB1.5 million
Bonus in Round 5: 0

After last season’s success, this season the Nanjingers are earning slightly more, going from RMB800,000 to RMB1 million for victories. Ties get the side RMB500,000. An award for goals has been taken away, but for win streaks, they get an additional RMB300,000 on top of the RMB1 million for each win.

10. Dalian Aerbin
Total bonuses: RMB1.3 million
Bonus in Round 5: 0

The seasiders were viewed as title challengers, but have struggled early on this year. Their system is based on win streaks, with RMB800,000 for one win, RMB1.2 million for two in a row, and RMB3 million for three in a row. Above that, they’ll consider additional bonuses.

11. Shanghai East Asia
Total bonuses: RMB1.2 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB200,000

The club gives out RMB600,000 for each win, but if the club went on a win streak, that could go up. The club also doesn’t have a set policy on draws, but, satisfied with their weekend result against Guangzhou R&F, they decided to award the side RMB200,000 for the away point.

12. Guangzhou R&F
Total bonuses: RMB1 million
Bonus in Round 5: RMB500,000

The southerns made more than double what their opponents, East Asia got for their draw on Saturday, as they earn RMB500,000 per draw. Wins would bring them RMB1 million, but the Cantonese side has struggled so far this season and has yet to produce a victory.

13. Tianjin Teda
Total bonuses: RMB600,000
Bonus in Round 5: 0

If you’re a Tianjin fan, it’s been a tough year: a -6 point deduction, failing to win a match in their first five, and being called “baozi” (steamed bun) in an official CSL publication. The club brings in RMB1 million for wins, something they haven’t secured yet, as well as RMB200,000 for draws.

14. Wuhan Zall
Total bonuses: RMB500,000
Bonus in Round 5: RMB500,000

The Wuhan owner declared that he’d give out a large award immediately after the club’s home opener if they defeated Guoan, but Freddie Kanoute guaranteed that wouldn’t happen. The side’s typical award for a win is around RMB1 million, and somewhere between RMB400,000-500,000 for draws. Unfortunately for the side, points have been extremely hard to come by in their first year in the CSL.

15. Changchun Yatai
Total bonuses: RMB400,000
Bonus in Round 5: RMB200,000

Like with many teams, Changchun earns big bonuses if they can go on a win streak: one win brings them RMB800,000, while two brings them RMB1 million, from there it goes up RMB1 million per victory for three and four in a row, while five would get them RMB5 million. From there, it doubles for each win. Well, that’s probably getting to an unrealistic point for the northeasterns. For draws, they bring in RMB200,000.

16. Shanghai Shenxin
Total bonuses: RMB270,000
Bonus in Round 5: RMB90,000

The Shanghainese side is in dead last right now, well below teams that they are in front of in the table. Their approach is arguably the most complex, similar to Shandong in that it’s based on performance over four matches. This is easier as a quick chart:
1-3 points – RMB90,000 per point
4-6 points – RMB180,000 per point
7-9 points – RMB360,000 per point
10-12 points – RMB720,000 per point

While it seems like a small system, if they were to win four straight matches, they’d earn RMB8.6 million, which is close to some of the top bonus fees.

Brandon Chemers aka B. Cheng aka A Modern Lei Feng – is a name which may be familiar to many in the Chinese blogosphere. He currently serves as Editor-in-Chief for Wild East Football and is one of the lonely souls writing about Chinese football in English for the last 10 years. Chemers' credentials are second to none – his former blog focused not only on the fortunes of his beloved Beijing Guoan FC, but a multitude of other aspects of Beijing life. He’s deservedly built a reputation in the Chinese blogosphere as an insightful observer of not only Chinese football, but also the wider picture of life in modern China and its many layers. For WEF, beyond writing about Guoan, he often focuses on fan culture and the business of Chinese football.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. GZBiffo

    18/04/2013 at 02:55

    Great article B, nice to have finer points like this explained in detail, cheers! Think the bonus system is overall a good one, provides an incentive to perform for teams who might otherwise feel like they don’t have much to play for. On the other hand, it could negatively effect team morale if results go against them, with players maybe being inclined to blame each other for financial losses.

    Don’t think the incremental increase for ‘win streaks’ makes a lot of sense though, outside of the perspective of a tight-fisted club owner! Notable that most clubs offering this system are those you wouldn’t really expect to go on winning streaks…

    Questions: are the bonuses paid out at the end of the season? And any idea what happens if clubs who subtract money for poor results end up with an overall negative bonus ‘balance sheet’?

    • bcheng

      18/04/2013 at 10:38

      Good points all around.

      Regarding your questions, the bonuses are different by club, some are paid monthly, some are paid at the end of the season. Only Evergrande and Guizhou do punishments for losses, so both teams haven’t had to deal with the question of a negative balance sheet, would be interesting if it were to happen.

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