20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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insults or slanders a third party or infringes upon the lawful rights and interests of a third party; or

 

   

is otherwise prohibited by law or administrative regulations.

ICP operators are required to monitor their websites, including electronic bulletin boards. They may not post or disseminate any content that falls within the prohibited categories and must remove any such content from their websites. The PRC government may shut down the websites of ICP license holders that violate any of the above-mentioned content restrictions and revoke their ICP licenses.

Restrictions on Foreign Ownership in Value-Added Telecommunications Services

Pursuant to the Provisions on Administration of Foreign-Invested Telecommunications Enterprises, promulgated by the PRC State Council with latest amendments becoming effective in September 2008, the ultimate foreign equity ownership in a value-added telecommunications service provider must not exceed 50%. However, the Guidance Catalog of Industries for Foreign Investment, as recently amended in 2015, allows a foreign investor to own more than 50% of the total equity interest in an e-commerce business. The MIIT further released an announcement in June 2015 to remove the restriction on foreign equity for “online data processing and transaction processing businesses” as provided in the Catalog of Telecommunication Businesses promulgated by the MIIT. In order to acquire any equity interest in a value-added telecommunication business in China, a foreign investor must satisfy a number of stringent performance and operational experience requirements, including demonstrating a good track records and experience in operating value-added telecommunication business overseas. Foreign investors that meet these requirements must obtain approvals from the MIIT and the Ministry of Commerce (or the Ministry of Commerce’s authorized local counterparts), which retain considerable discretion in granting approvals. According to publicly available information, the PRC government has issued telecommunication business operating licenses to only a limited number of foreign-invested companies. We believe that it would be impracticable for us to acquire any equity interest in our consolidated affiliated entities without diverting management attention and resources. Moreover, we believe that our contractual arrangements with these entities and the individual nominee shareholders provide us with sufficient and effective control over these entities. Accordingly, we currently do not plan to acquire any equity interest in any of these entities.

A Notice on Intensifying the Administration of Foreign Investment in Value-Added Telecommunications Services, issued by the MIIT in July 2006, 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. Pursuant 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 such license holders in their provision of value-added telecommunications services. The notice further requires each license holder to have the necessary facilities, including servers, for its approved business operations and to maintain the facilities in the regions covered by its license. If a license holder fails to comply with the requirements in the notice and cure such non-compliance, the MIIT or its local counterparts have the discretion to take measures against such license holders, including revoking their Value-Added Telecommunication Business Operating Licenses.

Due to the restrictions under these PRC regulations, we operate our websites mainly through our PRC consolidated affiliated entities, such as Baidu Netcom, and operate an online payment platform through BaiduPay. Baidu Netcom and BaiduPay are our PRC consolidated affiliated entities, and are considered domestic PRC entities under PRC law given that the nominee shareholders are PRC citizens or PRC entities.

Each of Baidu Netcom, BaiduPay and some of our other PRC consolidated affiliated entities holds a Value-Added Telecommunication Business Operating License. In compliance with the Notice of the MIIT on Intensifying the Administration of Foreign Investment in Value-Added Telecommunications Services, Baidu

 

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