Chinese Internet travel provider eLong.com (LONG) says it recorded an operating loss of CNY9.3 million for the third quarter ended September 30, 2007.

In the third quarter of 2006, the company conversely had an operating income of CNY1.7 million.

Travel revenues before business tax and surcharges comprised of hotel, air and other travel product and service revenues, increased 12% to CNY80.9 million for the third quarter 2007 compared with the prior year period.

The company recorded a net loss of CNY7.4 million for the third quarter, compared with net income of CNY2.7 million for the third quarter of 2006. Net income decreased CNY10.1 million primarily due to current quarter sales and marketing expenses of CNY36.9 million, which is CNY11.5 million more than the same quarter of prior year.

"The third quarter was a mixed quarter for eLong. Revenue growth was in line with our expectations and we have, managed to stabilize the decline in growth rates. However, we believe that eLong is not yet executing to its full potential and we are working hard to change that. We are very happy with the appointment of Mr. Guangfu Cui as CEO of eLong and believe he will be instrumental in improving eLong’s performance going forward," said Henrik Kjellberg, chairman of eLong.

Hotel commission revenue increased 12% year-over-year primarily due to higher room volume. Room nights booked through eLong increased 13% to 1,009,000, while commission per room night remained unchanged as CNY64. eLong says it has grown its hotel offering over 29% since third quarter 2006, and now features discounted rates at more than 4,700 hotels in over 300 cities across China.

Air ticketing commission revenue increased 41% primarily due to a 36% increase in air segments to 370,000, as well as a 4% increase in commission per air ticket to CNY42.

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