Ctrip.com International, the mainland's leading online travel services provider, is aiming for 20 per cent net revenue growth this quarter after posting hefty gains in the fourth quarter last year.
The Shanghai-based company, which offers its services through a toll-free, 24-hour customer service centre and bilingual websites, yesterday reported a 51 per cent increase in net income to 362 million yuan (HK$427.5 million) in the quarter to December from 224 million yuan a year earlier.
That was driven by high demand for hotel and air ticket reservations, and package tours, the company said.
Net revenue, which excludes business tax and related surcharges, was up 39 per cent to 787 million yuan from 566 million yuan the previous year.
'Once again, we delivered solid results and increased our market share,' president and chief executive Fan Min said.
Internet market research firm eMarketer said expansion of online travel services on the mainland has been underpinned by steady economic growth, relaxation of overseas travel restrictions and a fast-growing internet population, which reached 457 million last December. It estimated online travel bookings on the mainland would hit US$15.4 billion this year.
Nasdaq-listed Ctrip.com has continued to gear up for growth with two recent initiatives. The company last December invested an undisclosed amount in Dining Secretary China, which operates free online and offline restaurant reservations for diners.
Last month, Ctrip.com launched Lvping.com, a website that consolidates travel-related information such as hotel reviews, travel blogs and forums. The site will partner with hotels, airlines, traditional travel agents and other online travel agencies.
'We will work diligently to continuously improve customer service,' Fan said.
Ctrip.com's total net income in the 12 months to December grew 63 per cent year on year to a billion yuan. Its overall net revenue rose 45 per cent year on year to 2.9 billion yuan.