Business, Internet

Internet Revenue Plummets For Chinese Online Recruitment Website 51job.com

Chinese Internet classifieds and online job recruitment website company 51job Inc. reported its unaudited financial results for the first quarter of 2009 ended March 31, 2009, and stated total revenues decreased 24.6% year-on-year to CNY178.3 million, with both print and Internet advertising showing great declines.

Print advertising revenues for the first quarter of 2009 decreased 42.4% to CNY70.6 million compared with CNY122.4 million for the same quarter in 2008. Online recruitment services revenues for the first quarter of 2009 were CNY68.2 million, representing a 13.0% decrease from CNY78.4 million for the same quarter of the prior year. This all negatively impacted 51job.com's net income, which for the first quarter of 2009 decreased to CNY9.4 million from CNY22.2 million for the same quarter in 2008.

51job.com states the decrease in print advertising was primarily due to fewer print advertising pages in 51job Weekly, which was impacted by a decline in market demand resulting from the global economic crisis and slowdown of the Chinese economy during the first quarter of 2009. The estimated number of print advertising pages generated in the first quarter of 2009 decreased 36.5% to 2,916 compared with 4,593 pages in the same quarter in 2008. Print advertising prices charged in each city were relatively unchanged compared to the first quarter of 2008, but average revenue per page decreased 9.2% due to a greater contribution of advertising volume from lower priced cities. The decrease in Internet advertising was primarily due to lower average revenue per unique employer, which was partially offset by an increase in the number of unique employers using the company's online recruitment services. Average revenue per unique employer decreased 17.4% in the first quarter of 2009 compared to the same quarter in 2008 as employers reduced expenditures for online recruitment products or chose lower priced products.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2009 decreased 24.1% to CNY94.7 million from CNY124.8 million for the same quarter of the prior year. Operating expenses for the first quarter of 2009 decreased 3.8% to CNY83.0 million from CNY86.2 million for the same quarter of 2008 due to lower sales and marketing expenses, which was partially offset by higher general and administrative expenses.

Sales and marketing expenses for the first quarter of 2009 decreased 10.4% to CNY49.6 million from CNY55.4 million for the same quarter of the prior year primarily due to a decrease in advertising and promotion expenses, which was partially offset by higher salary and benefits expenses resulting from a greater number of staff employed as compared to the same quarter in 2008. Income from operations for the first quarter of 2009 decreased to CNY11.7 million from CNY38.6 million for the same quarter of the prior year.

As of March 31, 2009, the company had cash and short-term investments totaling CNY1.086 billion compared with CNY1.074 billion at December 31, 2008.

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