20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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Table of Contents

The successful operation of our business depends upon the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure and fixed telecommunications networks in China.

Our business depends on the performance and reliability of the internet infrastructure in China. Almost all access to the internet is maintained through state-owned telecommunication operators under the administrative control and regulatory supervision of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, or the MIIT. In addition, the national networks in China are connected to the internet through international gateways controlled by the PRC government. These international gateways are the only channels through which a domestic user can connect to the internet. It is unpredictable whether a more sophisticated internet infrastructure will be developed in China. We may not have access to alternative networks in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with China’s internet infrastructure. In addition, the internet infrastructure in China may not support the demands associated with continued growth in internet usage.

We rely heavily on China Telecommunications Corporation, or China Telecom, China United Network Communications Group Company Limited, or China Unicom, and China Mobile Communications Corporation, or China Mobile, to provide us with network services and data center hosting services. We have entered into contracts with various local branches or subsidiaries of China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile to obtain data communications capacity. We have limited access to alternative services in the event of disruptions, failures or other problems with the fixed telecommunications networks of these companies, or if these companies otherwise fail to provide the services. Any unscheduled service interruption could damage our reputation and result in a decrease in our revenues. Furthermore, we have no control over the costs of the services provided by these telecommunication companies. If the prices that we pay for telecommunications and internet services rise significantly, our gross margins could be adversely affected. In addition, if internet access fees or other charges to internet users increase, our user traffic may decrease, which in turn may harm our revenues.

Failure of information security and privacy concerns could subject us to penalties, damage our reputation and brand, and harm our business and results of operations.

The internet industry is facing significant challenges regarding information security and privacy, including the storage, transmission and sharing of confidential information. We transmit and store over our systems confidential and private information of our users, customers, distributors and Baidu Union members, such as personal information, including names, accounts, user IDs and passwords, and payment or transaction related information.

We are required by PRC law to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, availability and authenticity of the information of our users, customers, distributors and Baidu Union members, which is also essential to maintain their confidence in our online products and services. We have adopted strict information security policies and deployed advanced measures to implement the policies, including, among others, advanced encryption technologies. However, advances in technology, increased level of sophistication and diversity of our products and services, increased level of expertise of hackers, new discoveries in the field of cryptography or others could still result in a compromise or breach of the measures that we use. Because of our leading market position in the internet industry in China, we believe we are a particularly attractive target for security breaches and hacking attacks. We have experienced in the past, and may experience in the future, such attacks. In December 2012, the Standing Committee of the PRC National People’s Congress promulgated the Decision on Strengthening Network Information Protection, or the Network Information Protection Decision, to enhance the legal protection of information security and privacy on the internet. The Network Information Protection Decision also requires internet operators to take measures to ensure confidentiality of information of users. In July 2013, the MIIT promulgated the Provisions on Protection of Personal Information of Telecommunication and Internet Users to regulate the collection and use of users’ personal information in the provision of telecommunication service and internet information service in China. In November 2016, the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress promulgated the PRC Cyber Security Law, which requires, among others, that network operators take security measures to protect the network from unauthorized interference, damage and unauthorized access and

 

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