20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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Interruption or failure of our own information technology and communications systems or those of third-party service providers we rely upon could impair our ability to provide products and services, which could damage our reputation and harm our results of operations.

Our ability to provide products and services depends on the continuing operation of our information technology and communications systems. Any damage to or failure of our systems could interrupt our services. Service interruptions could reduce our revenue and profit and damage our brand if our systems are perceived to be unreliable. Our systems are vulnerable to damage or interruption as a result of terrorist attacks, wars, earthquakes, floods, fires, power loss, telecommunications failures, undetected errors or “bugs” in our software, computer viruses, interruptions in access to our platform through the use of “denial of service” or similar attacks, hacking or other attempts to harm our systems, and similar events. Some of our systems are not fully redundant, and our disaster recovery planning does not account for all possible scenarios. In February 2017, the service of Mobile Baidu was inaccessible to users for forty-three minutes due to a system failure, which adversely affected our user experience then.

Our servers, which are hosted at third-party or our own internet data centers, are vulnerable to break-ins, sabotage and vandalism. The occurrence of natural disasters or closure of an internet data center by a third-party provider without adequate notice could result in lengthy service interruptions. In addition, our domain names are resolved into internet protocol (IP) addresses by systems of third-party domain name registrars and registries. Any interruptions or failures of those service providers’ systems, which are beyond our control, could significantly disrupt our own services. If we experience frequent or persistent system failures on our platform, whether due to interruptions and failures of our own information technology and communications systems or those of third-party service providers that we rely upon, our reputation and brand could be severely harmed. The steps we take to increase the reliability and redundancy of our systems may cause us to incur heavy costs and reduce our operating margin, and may not be successful in reducing the frequency or duration of service interruptions.

More people are using devices other than personal computers to access the internet. If users do not widely adopt versions of our search technology, products and services developed for these devices, our business could be adversely affected.

The number of people who access the internet through devices other than personal computers, including mobile phones, smartphones, handheld computers, smart home devices and other smart devices, is increasing dramatically. The varying display sizes, functionality, and memory associated with some alternative devices may require us to tailor the user experience and interfaces to those devices and the versions of our products and services developed for these devices may not be compelling to users, manufacturers, or distributors of devices. Each manufacturer or distributor may establish unique technical standards for its devices, and our products and services may not work or be accessible on these devices. Some manufacturers may also elect not to include our products on their devices. In addition, search queries are increasingly being conducted through apps and services tailored to particular devices. A shift in user behavior to perform search queries on other devices or apps rather than a search engine could affect our share of the search market over time. As new devices and new platforms are continually being released, it is difficult to predict the future channels to access search. We may encounter challenges in developing versions of our products and services for use on these alternative devices, and we may need to devote significant resources to the creation, support, and maintenance of our products and services tailored for such devices. If we are unable to attract and retain a substantial number of alternative device manufacturers, distributors, and users to adopt and use our products and services, or if we are slow to develop products and technologies that are more compatible with alternative devices, we may fail to capture a significant share of an increasingly important portion of the market for online services, which could adversely affect our business.

We may not be able to manage our expanding operations effectively.

We have significantly expanded our operations in recent years. We expect this expansion trend to continue as we grow our user and customer base and explore new opportunities. To manage the further expansion of our

 

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