20-F
BAIDU, INC. filed this Form 20-F on 03/31/2017
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Culture Business Permit. Baidu Netcom and some other entities in our group have obtained an Internet Culture Business Permit for operating online games. These measures also specify that the Ministry of Culture is responsible for the censorship of imported online games and the filing of records of domestic online games. The procedures for the filing of records of domestic online games must be conducted with the Ministry of Culture within 30 days after the commencement date of the online operation of these online games or the occurrence date of any material alteration of these online games. The approval by or filing with the Ministry of Culture of each online game provided on our websites has been handled primarily by our online game operator partners.

In September 2009, the GAPP (currently known as the SAPPRFT) together with several other government agencies issued a Circular 13, which explicitly prohibits foreign investors from participating in online game operating businesses through wholly-owned enterprises, equity joint ventures or cooperative joint ventures in China. The 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, such as incorporating user registration, user account management or payment through game cards into online game platforms that are ultimately controlled or owned by foreign investors. We offer online games provided by our game operator partners on our websites owned and operated by our consolidated affiliated entities. We have also acquired 91 Wireless, which operates two leading smartphone application distribution platforms in China as well as a mobile game platform through its consolidated affiliated entities. If our contractual arrangements were deemed to be “indirect means” or “disguised form” under the Circular 13, our relevant contractual arrangements may be challenged by the SAPPRFT or other governmental authorities. If we were found to be in violation of the Circular 13 to operate our online game platform, the SAPPRFT, in conjunction with relevant regulatory authorities, would have the power to investigate and deal with such violations, including in the most serious cases, suspending and revoking the relevant licenses and registrations.

Regulations on Online Game Virtual Currency

The Interim Administration Measures of Online Games require companies that (i) issue online game virtual currency (including prepaid cards and/or pre-payment or prepaid card points), or (ii) offer online game virtual currency transaction services to apply for the Internet Culture Business Permit from provincial branches of the Ministry of Culture. The regulations prohibit companies that issue online game virtual currency from providing services that would enable the trading of such virtual currency. Any company that fails to submit the requisite application will be subject to sanctions, including but not limited to termination of operation, confiscation of incomes and fines. The regulations also prohibit online game operators from allocating virtual items or virtual currency to players based on random selection through lucky draw, wager or lottery that involves cash or virtual currency directly paid by the players. In addition, companies that issue online game virtual currency must comply with certain specific requirements, for example, online games virtual currency can only be used for products and services related to the issuance company’s own online games. Pursuant to an Circular issued by the Ministry of Culture in December 2016, which will take effect on May 1, 2017, an online game operator must not allow online game virtual currency to exchange for legal currency or items, except in the case of termination of online game operation where the online game operator may refund the balance of online game virtual currency to players in the form of legal currency or in other means acceptable to the players. Moreover, pursuant to the circular, regulations applicable to online game virtual currency also apply to such other virtual items where the virtual items are issued by the online game operator, can be exchangeable for other virtual items or value-added services related to the games, and can be purchased with legal currency or online game virtual currency or exchanged for with online game virtual currency. Baidu Netcom and some other entities in our group have obtained the Internet Culture Business Permit for issuing online game virtual currency.

 

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