Xiaomi refutes claims that its founder Lei Jun received a USD 1.5 billion payout in 2018

A Xiaomi executive said “it’s a common practice within the industry”.

Image credit to Quartz

Smartphone maker Xiaomi refutes media reports that its founder and CEO Lei Jun had received a roughly USD 1.5 billion payout last year and says the number is calculated based on a one-off award in shares issued back in last April.

Earlier today, Chinese media reported that the 50-year-old tech exec earned RMB 9.87 billion last year despite slowing growth of Xiaomi’s smartphone sales. Xiaomi shipped 122.6 handset units in 2018, according to marketing analysis consultancy International Data Corporation.

In a January filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, Xiaomi said up to 639,596,190 Class B shares had been awarded to Lei Jun and his companies, Smart Mobile Holdings Limited and Smart Player Limited to “recognize the contributions to the company by Mr Lei Jun”.

“It’s a common practice within the industry, and the percentage is not very high compared to others in the industry,” Xiaomi’s PR chief Xu Jieyun wrote in a post on Weibo, which has since been deleted.