Baidu is the dominant search engine in the country, with a 75.5 percent market share according to Beijing-based research firm Analysys International.
Baidu has faced similar accusations from Chinese websites alleging that the company has a deliberate search bias, said Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting. "None of the previous accusations of this sort have had any noticeable impact on Baidu," he said.
In its defense, Baidu could always argue the company uses a different search algorithm to rank query results than its competitors, Natkin added. "I don't think it will make a difference," he said of Hudong's complaint. "There's been no case in which (Baidu) lost millions of dollars or had to significantly alter its business."
Baidu's dominance in the search market, however, has no doubt given it advantages over the smaller Internet companies hoping to stay visible in the market, said Dong Xu, an analyst with Analysys International. "The smaller companies want a level playing field, and this is very important for them," she said. "They believe the government needs to take measures to make the Internet market more viable for them."