Ctrip booked 100,000 hotel room nights in one month for the first time in March 2002. It took another 21 months to sell 100,000 air tickets in a month.

But in 2010, it had booked an average of about 1.7 million room nights and 2.5 million plane tickets a month. Its net profit for the year was one billion yuan (US$159 million), up 59 percent on-year.

About 40 percent of bookings through the company are made via the Internet.

That number is constantly rising, though a lingering Chinese discomfort with Web transactions drives most Ctrip customers to make their final bookings with the company by phone.

Get the full story at The Independent