Trip.com Group (9961.HK), one of the world’s largest online travel agencies, announced on Friday its decision to provide financial incentives to its employees for each child they have, marking the first such initiative by a major private company in China. The move comes as the country grapples with the challenges posed by its ageing population.
Trip Group to spend 1 Billion Yuan
Starting from July 1, Trip.com Group will offer a payment of 50,000 yuan ($6,897.69) to employees for each child they have. The company, with 400 million users globally, plans to implement a parental cash subsidy of 10,000 yuan annually for five years for every child born to its employees worldwide. This comprehensive program is estimated to cost around 1 billion yuan, according to the company’s announcement.
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James Liang, the executive chairman of Trip.com, expressed his support for government initiatives to financially assist families with children, particularly those desiring to have multiple children. He emphasized the role that companies can play within their capabilities to cultivate a positive environment for fertility. “I have always suggested that the government give money to families with children, especially multiple children, to… help more young people fulfill their desire to have multiple children,” stated Liang.
China, which previously implemented a one-child policy from 1980 to 2015, faces the predicament of aging before achieving economic prosperity. The country’s workforce is shrinking, while local governments burdened with debt are allocating more resources to support their elderly population.
The birth rate in China has been declining steadily, with last year’s rate dropping to a record low of 6.77 births per 1,000 people, down from 7.52 births in 2021. Although authorities allowed couples to have up to three children in 2021, even during the COVID pandemic, many couples have been hesitant to expand their families.
Young people in China cite various factors discouraging them from having children, including the high costs of childcare and education, low income levels, a weak social safety net, and gender inequality. These challenges have contributed to the nation’s declining birth rate, necessitating efforts from both the government and private sector to address the issue.