Electronic business services provider Chinadotcom Corp. will trim 40 staff from its Web Connection consultancy unit after its third-quarter net loss rose to US$20.5 million, the Hong Kong-based company said in a statement Friday.

The loss was 40 per cent higher than the second quarter loss of $14.6 million and four times the $5 million loss for the year-earlier quarter, according to the statement.

The cuts represent about four per cent of the company’s headcount, which rose to over 1,100 during the year, Nasdaq-listed Chinadotcom said. The company said the job losses reflected the need for a greater focus on operating efficiency, key productivity metrics, cost management and profit margins.

Revenue for the company’s third quarter ended Sept. 30 reached $36.5 million, a 20 per cent increase over the previous quarter’s $30.3 million, according to the statement. The revenue growth came in the company’s electronic business services division, partly as the result of recent acquisitions in Australia, England and Japan.

Chinadotcom is working with mobile phone manufacturers such as Motorola Inc. and Siemens AG, phone service operators and wireless application developer infoisLive.com Ltd. to provide wireless Internet access to its portals in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, Chinadotcom said.

The stock fell 18.5 per cent on the Nasdaq exchange Friday to close at $8.56. The stock has tumbled 73 per cent from a high of over $30 in June.

Chinadotcom, in Hong Kong, can be reached at http://www.corp.china.com.