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Total paying customer accounts for China’s 51job.com fell by over 14% year-over-year in Q3, as the job board — one of China’s big two along with Zhaopin.com — continues to target a higher-spending customer base and weather a trade war-related economic downturn that is hitting small local businesses particularly hard.

Net revenues increased by 3.6% to 989 million RMB ($138.4 million U.S.), surpassing 51job’s targets for the quarter. While online recruitment business revenues fell by 2.4%, the company’s training, assessment and business process outsourcing services were a bright spot, with revenues up 16.4% to 355.6 million RMB ($49.7 million U.S.).

51job also revealed several new cash investments made in the past few months. The company entered into an agreement to be a cornerstone investor in the upcoming IPO of Huali University Group, a “leading large-scale private higher education and vocational education group in South China.” 51job will make a 200 million RMB ($28.5 million U.S.) investment in Huali when it lists on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, where it hopes to fundraise $978 million H.K. ($124.9 million U.S.). 51job has also invested $80 million U.S. in CDP Holdings Ltd., a “leading provider of human capital management services delivered through a cloud-based technology platform in China,” for a 17.5% equity interest.

Commenting on the results, Rick Yan, president and CEO of 51job, said, “The diverse nature and strength of our proven, integrated HR solutions model enabled us to maintain solid profitability in the third quarter.”

Yan also noted that the company is focused on long-term development, particularly in executing its strategic plant “to deepen customer relationships across the entire talent management value chain, to improve user experience and effectiveness, and to expand our HR ecosystem with new innovative products, technology and partners.”

In December, 51Job publicly rejected claims made by Tianfeng Securities that more than 2 million job ads had vanished from its website in 2018, amid the onset of an economic slowdown.

Founded in 1998, 51Job offers recruitment services to high-level candidates at 51Jingying.com and to graduates at the bare-bones Yingjiesheng.com. The Shanghai-based company boasts more than 110 million users.

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