Revenues and profits from China's online travel business rose strongly in the second quarter of the year, the country's largest online travel agent reported. Ctrip.com saw quarterly revenue rise by 30 per cent to $55m, compared to the same period one year earlier. Net profits were up 34 per cent over the same period, reaching $17m.
The company's positive results were driven by a surge in online sales of air tickets. Ticketing revenues rose 44 per cent to $25m. China's increasingly affluent population is using air travel more for business trips, vacations and family visits. In addition, China has recently phased out paper tickets in favour of e-tickets, allowing ticket sales to be transacted completely online.
Apart from air ticket sales, Ctrip's other main revenue generator is its hotel bookings business, which increased 14 per cent over the year to $29m.
"Although the travel industry in China encountered many difficulties during the second quarter of 2008 after the Sichuan earthquake, Ctrip delivered solid revenue and earnings growth," said Ctrip's chief executive, Min Fan.
The company recently took control of a local software developer which specialises in property management applications used by Chinese hotels.
Ctrip is regarded as China's most popular specialist online travel agent, with more than twice the market share of its closest listed competitor, eLong.com.
Ctrip executives predict revenue will grow at least 15 per cent – and possibly as high as 20 per cent – in the third quarter of this year.
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