With rivals Zhaopin.com and ChinaHR.com posting bad financial results for last year, Chinese online recruitment company 51job Inc. now reveals that its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter of 2008 and for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2008, show the financial crisis is truly hurting job websites in China.

51job's total revenues decreased 8.1% over the fourth quarter of 2007 to CNY196.2 million, and gross margin of 51.0% compared with 55.8% in fourth quarter of 2007. Gross profit for the fourth quarter of 2008 was CNY94.5 million compared with CNY112.8 million for the same quarter of the prior year. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased to CNY6.8 million from CNY13.7 million for the same quarter in 2007.

Rick Yan, the firm's president and CEO, stated, "Hiring activity slowed materially in the fourth quarter as many corporate customers scaled back their recruitment efforts and cut spending in the face of worsening global economic conditions. The current market sentiment among employers in China continues to be highly cautious and we believe it will remain so throughout 2009 as companies navigate through these unprecedented and challenging times."

Print advertising revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased 37.4% to CNY59.7 million from CNY95.4 million for the same quarter in 2007. The decrease was primarily due to lower average revenue per page resulting from higher revenue contribution from lower priced cities and less page volume in 51job Weekly, which was impacted by a slowdown in market demand and reduced hiring activity during the fourth quarter of 2008. Print advertising prices charged in each city were relatively unchanged compared with rates in the fourth quarter of 2007, but average revenue per page decreased 28.2% over the same quarter in 2007 as lower priced cities comprised a larger portion of print advertising volumes. The estimated number of print advertising pages generated in the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased 12.9% to 3,452 compared with 3,962 pages in the same quarter in 2007.

Online recruitment services revenues for the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased 5.4% to CNY72.7 million from CNY76.9 million for the same quarter in 2007.

Total revenues for the full fiscal year of 2008 were CNY860.4 million, an increase of 1.9% from CNY844.3 million in 2007. Income from operations for 2008 decreased 31.2% to CNY96.8 million from CNY140.7 million for 2007. Net income for 2008 decreased 26.0% to CNY76.6 million compared with CNY103.6 million for 2007.

Likwise, Seek, Australia's leading recruitment website and the major shareholder of China's Zhaopin.com, last month published its first semi-annual financial report in 2009, which stated Chinese job website Zhaopin.com made a CNY170 million loss in 2008.


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