More than 50 companies have agreed to join Renren Information Service in its RMB174 million (US$25 million) complaint against Baidu.com Ltd. for abusing its dominant position in China’s Internet search engine market. The complaint is believed to be the first filed under China’s new antimonopoly law, which first became effective in August 2008.
The aggrieved companies claim that they have suffered damages from Baidu’s keyword auction system and its aggressive marketing of the system. For example, some complainants allege that Baidu blocked their websites despite promises by Baidu that it would not block the sites of those that did not bid for keywords.
If 100 companies join the lawsuit, they can file a mass complaint with the State Administration for Industry & Commerce (SAIC). The law firm organizing the complaint intends to allege the following legal actions under the mass complaint: brand infringement, fraud and unfair competition. Baidu’s share of China’s Internet search engine market is about 70 percent.