20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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entities may be subject to challenge, or we may not be able to obtain or renew certain permits or licenses, including without limitation, a Value-Added Telecommunication Business Operating License, which is issued by the MIIT, an Internet News License, which is issued by the State Council News Office, a Short Messaging Service Access Code Certificate, which is issued by the MIIT, an Online Audio/Video Program Transmission License, which is issued by the State Administration of Press Publication, Radio, Film and Television, or the SAPPRFT, a Radio and Television Program Production License, which is issued by the SAPPRFT, a Surveying and Mapping Qualification Certificate for internet map services, which is issued by the National Administration of Surveying, Mapping and Geo-information, an Internet Culture Business Permit with the permitted scope of business covering online game operation and online game virtual currency issuance or trading, which is issued by the Ministry of Culture, an Internet Publication License, which is issued by the SAPPRFT, a Payment Service Permit, which is issued by the People’s Bank of China, a Qualification Certificate for Internet Drug Information Services, which is issued by provincial branch of the State Food and Drug Administration, and a China Air Transport Sales Agency Services Certificate, which is issued by China Air Transport Association. Failure to obtain or renew these permits and licenses may significantly disrupt our business, or subject us to sanctions, requirements to increase capital or other conditions or enforcement, or compromise enforceability of related contractual arrangements, or have other harmful effects on us.

 

   

New laws and regulations may be promulgated to regulate internet activities, including online advertising and online payment. Other aspects of our online operations may be regulated in the future. If these new laws and regulations are promulgated, additional licenses may be required for our online operations. If our operations do not comply with these new regulations at the time they become effective, or if we fail to obtain any licenses required under these new laws and regulations, we could be subject to penalties.

We provide value-added telecommunications services through our consolidated affiliated entities, which hold the required licenses. In July 2006, the MIIT issued the Notice of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology on Intensifying the Administration of Foreign Investment in Value-Added Telecommunications Services. This notice prohibits domestic telecommunication service providers from leasing, transferring or selling telecommunication business operating licenses to any foreign investor in any form, or providing any resources, sites or facilities to any foreign investor for their illegal operation of a telecommunication business in China. According to this notice, either the holder of a Value-Added Telecommunication Business Operating License or its shareholders must directly own the domain names and trademarks used by the license holder in its provision of value-added telecommunications services. The notice also requires each license holder to have the necessary facilities, including servers, for its approved business operations and to maintain these facilities in the regions covered by its license. Baidu Netcom and Beijing BaiduPay Science and Technology Co., Ltd., or BaiduPay, our consolidated affiliated entities, own the necessary domain names and trademarks, including pending trademark applications and have the necessary personnel and facilities to operate our websites.

We operate application and mobile game platforms through certain of our consolidated affiliated entities. In September 2009, the GAPP (currently known as the SAPPRFT) together with several other government agencies issued a notice, or the Circular 13, prohibiting foreign investors from participating in online game operating businesses in China. Circular 13 expressly prohibits foreign investors from gaining control over or participating in PRC operating companies’ online game operations through indirect means, such as establishing joint venture companies, entering into contractual arrangements with or providing technical support to the operating companies, or through a disguised form. Other government agencies that also have the authority to regulate online game operations in China, such as the Ministry of Culture and the MIIT, did not join the GAPP in issuing the Circular 13. Due to the ambiguity among various regulations on online games and a lack of interpretations from the relevant PRC authorities governing online game operations, it is uncertain whether PRC authorities would consider our relevant contractual arrangements to be foreign investment in online game operation businesses. While we are not aware of any online game companies that use contractual arrangements similar to ours having been penalized or ordered to terminate operation by PRC authorities claiming that the contractual

 

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