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China’s leading jobs board 51job.com celebrated its 20th anniversary with strong Q4 and FY2018 results. Total revenues in 2018 were $3.8 billion U.S. ($550.1 million U.S.) — an increase of 31.3 percent year-over-year. Q4 revenues were up 28.5 percent.

51job’s underlying metrics were all steady, with a gross margin of 72.2 percent compared with 73.2 percent in 2017 and an operating margin of 30.8 percent compared with 30.6 percent in 2017.

Commenting on the results, president and CEO Rick Yan said: “Our online business demonstrated strong growth with progress in ARPU improvement due to greater usage and spending by employers for our ever-expanding array of products and platforms. The other HR services area also performed well as we elevated cross-promotion efforts, gained customer acceptance and drove uptake of these value-added services. For 2019, we will stay focused on executing our high-quality growth strategy, emphasizing deeper engagements with employers and capturing opportunities across the entire spectrum of HR needs in China.”

51job’s ongoing strategy of cutting clients to “focus more attention on higher potential employers,” continued in Q4, with the estimated number of unique employers decreasing by 7.4 percent to 343,405, compared with 370,746 for the same quarter of the prior year. Average revenue per unique employer increased 34.3 percent in Q4.

In December, 51job publicly rejected claims made by Tianfeng Securities that more than 2 million job ads had vanished from its website this year, amid the onset of an economic slowdown.

Founded in 1998, 51job currently operates the 51job.com domain. It offers recruitment services to high-level candidates at 51jingying.com and recruitment services for graduates at the bare-bones Yingjiesheng.com. The Shanghai-based company boasts more than 110 million users.

In September 2017, it announced it had entered into an agreement to acquire a 60 percent equity interest in Lagou Information Limited, the holding company of tech recruitment site Lagou.