May 05, 2016

    Baidu may be hurt by death of cancer patient

    ONE of the largest sources of Chinese Internet giant Baidu's revenue has been put under threat as a government investigation looks into its search business after the death of a cancer-stricken college student.

    Officials launched a probe on Monday after 21-year-old Wei Zexi sought out a controversial treatment advertised among Baidu's search results.

    But the procedure failed to save his life.

    He called the treatment useless and criticised Baidu's paid listing practice in online posts before he died last month.

    His experience triggered an online outcry in China, which has seen numerous scandals of medical-related advertisements on Baidu since 2008, when China Central Television found that the search giant advertised unqualified drug producers.

    The share price of Nasdaq-listed Baidu fell by 7.92 per cent, the most in nine months. Tian Hou, an analyst at TH Capital in Beijing, said the probe will affect Baidu in the short term, as medical-related ads account for about 30 per cent of its revenue.