A spokesperson at Chinese online search giant Baidu (Nasdaq: BIDU) has told media that his company seriously denounces what he called a campaign by e-commerce firm Alibaba to spread rumors about Baidu in relation to the recent San Lu milk powder contamination case.
The chain of events leading to the conflict began September 12, when a netizen posted a document titled the "San Lu Crisis Public Relations Proposal", alleging that San Lu had contacted Baidu to ask the search company to help it manage the crisis by deleting any search results related to the topic. Baidu said the posting mistakenly reported that Baidu had accepted RMB 3 mln in exchange for screening out search results containing negative news about San Lu.
On September 13, Baidu publicly announced that it had never screened out any related search results related to the San Lu case.
However, the following day, Alibaba's home page and Taobao's home page featured posts repeating the claim that Baidu had accepted RMB 3 mln in advertising contracts from San Lu in return for screening out search results related to the scandal. Baidu has accused Alibaba of defamation and has threatened to file a lawsuit against the company.