51job Inc. (NASDAQ:JOBS) Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Nov 08, 2018 • 08:00 pm ET
Good day, and welcome to the 51job Third Quarter 2018 Conference Call and Webcast. All participants will be in a listen-only mode.
Please note this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Linda Chien, VP and Head of IR. Please go ahead.
Thank you Claudia and thank you all for attending this teleconference to discuss unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2018.
With me for today's call are Rick Yan, President and CEO; and Kathleen Chien, COO and acting CFO. A press release containing third quarter 2018 results was issued earlier today, and a copy may be obtained through our website at ir. 51job.com.
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)
Also, I would like to remind you that during the course of this call, we will discuss non-GAAP measures. Please refer to the press release for a description of these non-GAAP measures and their significance to management in evaluating the company's financial performance. Reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are provided, where available, in the tables appended to the press release.
This conference call is being recorded and broadcasted on the Internet, and a replay will be available through our website at ir.51job.com.
Now I'll turn the call over to Rick.
Thank you Linda and welcome to today's call. I will begin with a review of the third quarter, followed by Kathleen with a detailed discussion of our financial results and our guidance for the fourth quarter of 2018. Finally, we'll open the call to your questions.
We are pleased to report solid financial results as we continue to deploy our high-quality growth strategy with diligence and success. Total revenues exceeded our forecast and grew 31% to CNY955 million, and we achieved higher profitability with non-GAAP EPS of CNY5.09. Our online business maintained a strong trend as revenues increased 33% in the third quarter. In line with our expectations, the growth came from significant ARPU improvement of 39%, which was mainly offset by a decline in online employers in the quarter.
An important strategic priority in 2018 has been to reevaluate and optimize the allocation of sales resources to increase productivity. While this initiative has required us to impose a stricter criteria with regards to the employers we direct our services to, it has also enabled us to meaningfully further deepen relations with employers, drive up selling and deliver greater value to our customers. These efforts again elevated online ARPU, which increased by nearly 39% to another record quarterly level.
As we have been focused on reconfiguring account lists among our sales people to yield higher returns, we have purposely limited new customer additions in 2018 and have also chosen to reduce or eliminate coverage of certain employers. Closing the year, we believe that ARPU will continue to be the primary growth driver and there will be more adjustments to the customer count.
We remain confident that as we build long-term, high-quality HR connections with an audience of