| BEIJING, April 23
BEIJING, April 23 Baidu.com Inc (BIDU.O) has
been accused of abusing its dominant market position to punish
a client company, which is seeking 1.1 million yuan ($161,000)
in damages, according to a Beijing court.
The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court said on its
website that a verdict was pending.
Renren Information Service Co said China's top Internet
search engine had violated the anti-monopoly law when it
restricted search access to a subsidiary's website as
punishment for reducing advertising spending with Baidu, the
Nasdaq-listed Baidu denied the charges, said the court.
Baidu officials were not immediately available for comment.
Baidu was forced late last year to remove questionable paid
search listings from customers that did not have proper
licenses, after state television reported Baidu had sold links
to unlicensed medical sites with unproven claims for their
Baidu also has open court cases brought by Sony Music
(6758.T)(SNE.N), Warner Music WMG.N and Universal Music
(VIV.PA), accusing it of directing users to unauthorised music
Renren said that after reducing its advertising with Baidu,
the search engine quickly moved to reduce access to Renren's
website, the court said.
Officials from Renren were not available to comment.
Renren told the court the number of visits to its website
dropped sharply after it reduced its spending with Baidu.
A search for the company on the U.S.-based search engine
Google GOOG. found 6,690 pages, while only four were found on
Baidu, a Renren official told the court.
Baidu search traffic continued to be strong in the first
part of 2009 as the company attracted more small firms because
of the high effectiveness of its search advertising, said JP
Morgan analyst Dick Wei in a note on Thursday.
(Reporting by Kirby Chien, Editing by Ian Geoghegan)