20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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Our contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities in China and the individual nominee shareholders may not be as effective in providing control over these entities as direct ownership.

Since PRC law restricts or imposes conditions on foreign equity ownership in internet, value-added telecommunication-based online advertising, online audio and video services and mobile application distribution companies in China, we operate our platform and conduct our value-added telecommunication-based online advertising, online audio and video services and mobile application distribution businesses through our consolidated affiliated entities in China. We have no equity interest in any of these entities and must rely on contractual arrangements to control and operate the businesses and assets held by our consolidated affiliated entities, including the domain names and trademarks that have been transferred from our subsidiaries to our consolidated affiliated entities in accordance with requirements of PRC law. These contractual arrangements may not be as effective in providing control over these entities as direct ownership. For example, our consolidated affiliated entities and the individual nominee shareholders could breach their contractual arrangements with us by, among other things, failing to operate our business, such as using the domain names and trademarks our subsidiaries have transferred to them or maintaining our platform, in an acceptable manner or taking other actions that are detrimental to our interests. If our consolidated affiliated entities or the individual nominee shareholders fail to perform their obligations under these contractual arrangements, we may have to incur substantial costs to enforce such arrangements, and rely on legal remedies under PRC law, including contract remedies, which may not be sufficient or effective. If we are unable to enforce these contractual arrangements, or if we suffer significant delay or other obstacles in the process of enforcing these contractual arrangements, we may not be able to have the power to direct the activities that most significantly affect the economic performance of our consolidated affiliated entities, and we may lose control over the assets owned by our consolidated affiliated entities, including our Baidu.com domain name and website, and any other domain names and websites we have access to may not attract a large number of users and customers at the same level as Baidu.com. As a result, our ability to conduct our business may be materially and adversely affected, and we may not be able to consolidate the financial results of the relevant affiliated entities into our consolidated financial statements in accordance with U.S. GAAP, which may materially and adversely affect our results of operations and damage our reputation. In addition, we are in the process of updating the registration of new nominee shareholders of some consolidated affiliated entities with PRC governmental authorities, and we may not be able to claim against any third parties who acquire equity interests in good faith in the relevant consolidated affiliated entities from the original nominee shareholders before the new nominee shareholders are registered.

Our contractual arrangements with our consolidated affiliated entities in China may result in adverse tax consequences to us.

As a result of our corporate structure and the contractual arrangements between our subsidiaries and each of our consolidated affiliated entities in China, we are subject to VAT at a rate of 6% as a result of the VAT reform program on both revenues generated by our consolidated affiliated entities’ operations in China and revenues derived from our subsidiaries’ contractual arrangements with these consolidated affiliated entities. Where our consolidated affiliated entity is qualified as a VAT general taxpayer, the VAT charged by our subsidiaries on the revenues obtained from such consolidated affiliated entity based on the contractual arrangement between our subsidiaries and such consolidated affiliated entity will constitute input VAT for the consolidated affiliated entity, and will be creditable against output VAT arising in connection with VAT taxable activities carried out by the consolidated affiliated entity. See “Item 5.A. Operating and Financial Review and Prospects—Operating Results—Taxation” for more information on the VAT reform program. Moreover, we would be subject to adverse tax consequences if the PRC tax authorities were to determine that the contracts between our subsidiaries and these consolidated affiliated entities were not on an arm’s-length basis and therefore constituted a favorable transfer pricing. Under the PRC Enterprise Income Tax Law, or the EIT Law, an enterprise must submit its annual tax return together with information on related-party transactions to the PRC tax authorities. The PRC tax authorities may impose reasonable adjustments on taxation if they have identified any related party transactions that are inconsistent with arm’s-length principles. For example, the PRC tax authorities could request that our consolidated affiliated entities adjust their taxable income upward for PRC tax purposes. Such adjustment could

 

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