Urban wages at non-private firms in China averaged ¥42,452 in 2011, up 14.3% nominally from the year before and up 8.5% if inflation is accounted for, the National Bureau of Statistics said.

The financial industry continued to top the salary ranking list with an average annual wage of ¥91,364 last year, followed by ¥70,619 for the information technology, computer service and software industry and ¥65,238 for the scientific research, technical support and geological surveying industry.

The agriculture and hospitality industries ranked at the bottom of the earning list, with salaries of ¥20,393 and ¥27,847 respectively last year.

The retail and wholesale industry reported the fastest wage growth last year, with salaries increasing by 20.2% compared to the previous year. The leasing and commercial service and real estate industry followed behind, with wage growth rates of 19.2% and 19.1%. Meanwhile, information technology, computer science and software industry wages saw the slowest growth rate last year at just 6%.

Overall, the manufacturing and construction industries, which employ 40.5% of China's total workforce, paid their workers ¥36,494 and ¥32,657 on average respectively last year, both below the national average.

Urban wages at privately-owned firms in China averaged ¥24,556 in 2011, up 18.3% nominally from the year before and up 12.3% if inflation is accounted for, the National Bureau of Statistics added.

The best paid private-sector industry last year was the information technology, computer service and software industry, where workers earned an average salary of just ¥35,562.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, private-sector firms refer only to small businesses, whereas listed firms and foreign-funded firms – no matter if they are private or state owned – fall under the definition of non-private sector.

$1 = ¥6.33

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