Baidu is the leading Chinese search engine for websites, audio files, and images. Baidu offers 57 search and community services including an online collaboratively-built encyclopedia (Baidu Baike), and a searchable keyword-based discussion forum. As of 21 March 2008, Baidu is ranked 19th overall in Alexa’s internet rankings.In December 2007 Baidu became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 index.
On 15 and 16 November 2008, the state-owned China Central Television exposed during the popular lunchtime 30-minute news that Baidu used fraudulent high-cost-per-click advertisements as its search results; many smaller websites were blocked by Baidu as a result of not opting-in to Baidu’s advertising programs.Baidu’s share price on NASDAQ shrank by approximately 25% following the revelation .
On 17 November 2008, Baidu issued an apology which stated, “We put too much effort in competing technically with Google, and in doing so overlooked our advertising system and its management.“
Now it has been accussed of allowing unlicensed medical services to buy high search rankings.The unlicensed clinic paid Baidu nearly 17 yuan per click (£1.60) for a prominent ranking, according to a report.
Robin Li, Baidu’s chief executive officer, told the state news agency Xinhua that the firm had sacked staff over the case and could fire more. “We have already fired people who helped fabricate documents for unlicensed suppliers,” he said.
“We have removed the keywords of all four clients mentioned in the report and have begun to double-check the licenses of all other hospitals and pharmacies on our client list,” he added.