Porphyra haitanensis T. J. Chang et B. F. Zheng (Bangiales, Rhodophyta) is cultivated in China and widely consumed in Asia. To gain more insight into its physiological and biochemical properties, we generated 5318 expressed sequence tags (ESTs) from the sporophyte of P. haitanensis, and upon assembling into a nonredundant set, 2535 sequences were obtained, among which only 32.2% (816) shared certain similarity with published sequences (Nr and KOG). Functional classification of such ESTs revealed that most of the transcripts were related to its conservative biological metabolism, and P. haitanensis most likely possesses cyanide-resistant respiration and a C4-like carbon-fixation pathway, both of which have never been reported in a rhodophyte before. Twenty-eight percent of the nonredundant gene clusters exhibited significant similarity to those from P. yezoensis Ueda sporophytes, and 16 genes up-regulated in P. yezoensis sporophytes were also expressed abundantly in P. haitanensis. Codon usage analysis indicated that exposure to high GC pressure might occur during evolution of P. haitanensis. These findings represent the most extensive collection of ESTs from P. haitanensis to date, and all the ESTs in this study have been submitted to GenBank (accession nos. DN604790–DN608469, EG016226–EG018540).