(Yicai Global) March 5 -- Profit at Ctrip, China's biggest online travel agency, jumped 40 percent last year as customers bought more tickets for plane and train journeys through its platform.
Profit attributable to shareholders was CNY5.5 billion (USD821 million), the Shanghai-based company said in an unaudited earnings report published today. Operating income rose 22 percent to CNY31 billion from a year earlier.
An increase in sales of transport tickets, especially for international flights, was behind the strong showing, founder and Executive Chairman James Liang said on an earnings call. China is building more high-speed rail routes so Ctrip expects that to further buoy business, he said. The firm aims to bolster first-quarter revenue by 18 percent to 23 percent from the same period last year.
"We are very confident in sustained growth," Liang said. "We firmly believe that we will continue to gain market share faster and constantly improve operational efficiency."
In the report Ctrip revealed its user numbers for the first time. It had 135 million in 2018 thanks to compound annual growth of 25 percent over the past two years. Gross merchandise volume, also released for the first time, rose 30 percent to CNY725 billion.
For the full year, almost 42 percent of income came from transport ticketing, 37 percent from accommodation bookings, 12 percent from tourism services, and 3 percent from business travel management. The last three saw gains.
In pre-market trading on the Nasdaq in New York, the company's shares were 7.6 percent higher at USD37.66 as of 12.49 p.m. Beijing time.
Editor: Emmi Laine