Trip.Com’s Annual Loss Shrinks 83% as Travel in China Picks Up

(Yicai Global) March 24 — Trip.Com Group’s loss narrowed 83 percent last year as China’s biggest online travel agency benefited from a resurgence of travel in the country.

The net loss shrank to CNY550 million (USD86 million) in the year ended Dec. 31, the Shanghai-based owner of the Qunar and Skyscanner brands said in an earnings report published yesterday.

The firm offered another way to calculate its assets. In 2021, non-GAAP net income tallied CNY1.4 billion (USD219.6 million) when excluding share-based compensation charges, as well as changes in the fair value of equity investments and exchangeable senior notes. Based on those metrics, the firm had reported a non-GAAP net loss of CNY913 million in 2020.

Sales were recovering. Annual revenue was CNY20 billion (USD3.1 billion) in 2021, rising 9 percent from a year earlier, driven by strong hotel bookings and corporate services. The sum equals about 56 percent of that of 2019, a time before the Covid-19 pandemic. Cost of revenue increased by 14 percent to CNY4.6 billion, equaling almost a quarter of total revenue.

The main source of income was accommodation. Revenue from the segment rose 14 percent to CNY8.1 billion in 2021. That from corporate travel increased by 54 percent to CNY1.3 billion. Transport tickets climbed 3 percent to CNY6.9 billion and package tours rose 11 percent to CNY1.1 billion, indicating mild growth as some regions were still dealing with new Covid-19 outbreaks.

The company has learned from the past years of social distancing. “2021 was a year full of challenges and opportunities,” said Executive Chairman James Liang. “On the bumpy path to recovery, we have built solid resilience and become fundamentally stronger.”

Still, the last quarter of 2021 had meant a step back in recovery as new waves of Covid-19 cases emerged in certain regions. In the fourth quarter, Trip.Com’s revenue dropped 6 percent to CNY4.7 billion from a year ago. Net loss was CNY834 million, compared to CNY1 billion in net profit in the same quarter in 2020.

As overseas vacations became only dreams for many, the travel agency took the opportunity to rethink its services. “During the past year, we have further expanded our product offerings and improved our content capabilities, which pave the way for our sustainable growth in the longer term,” said Liang.

“Going forward, we will continue to focus on the business recovery in the Chinese domestic market while remaining ambitious with our global vision towards global travel reopening,” the chief added.

Trip.Com’s Hong Kong-listed shares [HKG: 9961] climbed 0.8 percent to HKD192.70 (USD24.60) as of noon. The shares have slumped almost a third in value over the past 12 months.

Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi

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