The same day China's largest search engine announced plans to launch an e-commerce service, Baidu made headlines for some decidedly not market-friendly practices. Analysts are reporting that the Great Firewall of China—long criticized for its Government-sponsored Internet censorship—has expanded its domain. Three major search engines (Google, Yahoo and Microsoft) along with a handful of other sites appear to have been hijacked, automatically redirecting visitors to Baidu. Previously, the state-controlled routers have been used for strictly censorship purposes. The latest development suggests economic potential.
Though not confirmed, some believe a possible motive lies in the United States' decision, much-protested by Chinese leaders, to award the Dalai Lama a Congressional Gold Medal.—Abby Seiff