BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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As part of our financial services, we have adopted what we believe to be a new approach to credit risk management, through leveraging our big data and computing analytical capabilities, and have taken various other measures to monitor and limit credit risks. However, the risk of nonpayment of loans is inherent in the finance business, and we are subject to credit risks resulting from defaults by consumers. While we employ statistical modelling and big data to carefully assess credit risks, credit risks are exacerbated in microcredit and consumer financing because there is relatively limited information available about the credit histories of the borrowers. There can be no assurances that our credit assessment and risk management are or will be sufficient to result in lower delinquencies. As we expand into new sub-sectors of consumer financing, our limited operational experience and lack of familiarity with the new areas may render our risk management less effective, thus exacerbating our credit risks. Furthermore, our ability to manage the quality and the associated credit risks of our loan portfolio may have significant impact on our results of operations. Deterioration in the overall quality of loan portfolio and increased exposure to credit risks may occur due to a variety of reasons, including factors beyond our control, such as a slowdown in the growth of the PRC or global economies or a liquidity or credit crisis in the PRC or global financial sectors, which may adversely affect the liquidity of our borrowers or their ability to repay or roll over their debt. Any significant deterioration in the asset quality of our financial services business and significant increase in associated credit risks may have a material adverse effect on our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Our financial services business also faces additional operational risks with respect to illegal or fraudulent activities, such as illegally accessing and using another’s Baidu Wallet account, and providing false credit and other information or creating fictitious or “phantom” transactions with collaborators in order to obtain loans from us. Although we have implemented various measures to detect and reduce the occurrence of illegal or fraudulent activities, there can be no assurance that such measures will be effective in combating fraudulent activities. Significant increases in illegal or fraudulent activity could negatively impact our brand and reputation, lead us to take additional steps to reduce such risks, and cause us to incur additional expenses and costs, which may adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition.

Negative publicity about our partners, outsourced service providers or other counterparties, such as negative publicity about their debt collection practices and any failure by them to adequately protect the information of borrowers, to comply with applicable laws and regulations or to otherwise meet required quality and service standards could harm our reputation. Furthermore, any negative development in the internet finance industry, such as bankruptcies of companies providing similar services, or negative perception of the industry as a whole, could compromise our image, undermine the trust and credibility we have established and impose a negative impact on our business and results of operations.

If we fail to keep up with rapid changes in technologies and user behavior, our future success may be adversely affected.

Our future success will depend on our ability to respond to rapidly changing technologies, adapt our products and services to evolving industry standards and improve the performance and reliability of our products and services. Our failure to adapt to such changes could harm our business. In addition, changes in user behavior resulting from technological developments may also adversely affect us. For example, the number of people accessing the internet through mobile devices, including mobile phones, tablets, digital assistants and other hand-held devices, and television set-top devices, has increased in recent years, and we expect this trend to continue while 4G/5G and more advanced mobile communications technologies are broadly implemented. If we fail to develop products and technologies that are compatible with all mobile devices and operating systems, or if the products and services we develop are not widely accepted and used by users of various mobile devices and operating systems, our position in the mobile internet market may be adversely affected. In addition, the widespread adoption of new internet, networking or telecommunications technologies or other technological changes could require substantial expenditures to modify or integrate our products, services or infrastructure. If we fail to keep up with rapid technological changes to remain competitive, or consequently fail to retain users with products and service of exceptional quality, our future success may be adversely affected.