20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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in the Cayman Islands. The rights of our shareholders and the fiduciary duties of our directors under Cayman Islands law are not as clearly established as they would be under statutes or judicial precedents in the United States. In particular, the Cayman Islands has a less developed body of securities laws as compared to the United States, and provides significantly less protection to investors. In addition, Cayman Islands companies may not have standing to initiate a shareholder derivative action before the federal courts of the United States.

As a result of all of the above, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests through actions against our management, directors or major shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a jurisdiction in the United States.

Our dual-class ordinary share structure with different voting rights could discourage others from pursuing any change of control transactions that holders of our Class A ordinary shares and ADSs may view as beneficial.

Our ordinary shares are divided into Class A ordinary shares and Class B ordinary shares. Holders of Class A ordinary shares are entitled to one vote per share, while holders of Class B ordinary shares are entitled to ten votes per share. We issued Class A ordinary shares represented by our ADSs in our initial public offering. Our co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer, Robin Yanhong Li, who acquired our shares prior to our initial public offering, holds our Class B ordinary shares. Each Class B ordinary share is convertible into one Class A ordinary share at any time by the holder thereof, while Class A ordinary shares are not convertible into Class B ordinary shares under any circumstances. Upon any transfer of Class B ordinary shares by a holder thereof to any person or entity which is not an affiliate (as defined in our memorandum and articles of association) of such holder, such Class B ordinary shares will be automatically and immediately converted into the equal number of Class A ordinary shares. In addition, if at any time Robin Yanhong Li and his affiliates collectively own less than 5% of the total number of the issued and outstanding Class B ordinary shares, each issued and outstanding Class B ordinary share will be automatically and immediately converted into one Class A ordinary share, and we shall not issue any Class B ordinary shares thereafter.

Due to the disparate voting powers attached to these two classes, certain shareholders have significant voting power over matters requiring shareholder approval, including election of directors and significant corporate transactions, such as a merger or sale of our company or our assets. This concentrated control could discourage or prevent others from pursuing any potential merger, takeover or other change of control transactions with our company, which could deprive our shareholders and ADS holders of an opportunity to receive a premium for their shares or ADSs as part of a sale of our company and might reduce the price of our ADSs.

Our articles of association contain anti-takeover provisions that could adversely affect the rights of holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs.

Our articles of association include certain provisions that could limit the ability of others to acquire control of our company, and therefore may deprive the holders of our ordinary shares and ADSs of the opportunity to sell their ordinary shares or ADSs at a premium over the prevailing market price by discouraging third parties from seeking to obtain control of our company in a tender offer or similar transactions. These provisions include the following:

 

   

A dual-class ordinary share structure.

 

   

Our board of directors has the authority, without approval by the shareholders, to issue up to a total of 10,000,000 preferred shares in one or more series. Our board of directors may establish the number of shares to be included in each such series and may fix the designations, preferences, powers and other rights of the shares of a series of preferred shares.

 

   

Our board of directors has the right to elect directors to fill a vacancy created by the increase of the board of directors or the resignation, death or removal of a director, which prevents shareholders from having the sole right to fill vacancies on our board of directors.

 

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