Profits soar at Chinese jobs portal

Profits soar at Chinese jobs portal

51job reports 14.8 per cent rise in operating profit

Revenues at, China's largest online recruitment firm, increased 21.8 per cent in the third quarter to reach $29.4m, the company announced yesterday.

More than 59,000 employers used 51job to find staff during the quarter, compared to 45,000 during the same period last year. 51job is the only profitable company in its sector in China, according to chief executive Rick Yan.

The company's operating profit increased 14.8 per cent year over year to $4.7m.

"If you look at our competitors' financials you can see that their losses are expanding very fast. They are still investing a lot of money in the Chinese market, so I think we are holding our position on the online front," he said during a conference with analysts this week.

Yan blamed competitors' losses on their "disproportionate" spending on efforts to gain market share, but noted that his firm was also raising sales and marketing spending.

51job derives its revenue from a mix of online job ads, print ads and other services, which include corporate training and outsourcing.

Print advertising makes up about half of the sales, while online accounts for a third. However, online is growing almost twice as fast as print, according to the company's third-quarter results.

"During the fourth quarter we will be expanding our sales ahead of the Chinese New Year seasonal peak in 2008," said 51job chief financial officer Kathleen Chien.

Many employees receive substantial bonuses prior to the Chinese New Year holiday every spring, and it is common for people to switch jobs after pocketing the bonus.