China’s leading search engine Baidu, Inc. (NASDAQ: BIDU) is reportedly no longer willing to publish advertising for cryptocurrency related ventures. Two of the largest Chinese Bitcoin exchanges, OKCoin and Huobi, have confirmed the ads ban on Friday according to Bloomberg.
With China being the dominant market for Bitcoin, responsible for about 90% of trading, the importance of the ban can’t be overstated. With that being said, the existence of cryptocurrencies is not being censored from search results altogether so as long as it remains like this it’s likely to only hurt new ventures trying to attract attention and break into the market and not the big-name exchanges.
Earlier this year news broke of a similar Baidu crackdown on online margin trading advertizing. On June 24th Chinese media sites reported that according to an unnamed Baidu official, a decree came down to stop ads by forex brokers starting at 00:00 June 25th. The only exception was for FX brokers with licences in the US, the UK and Hong Kong (NFA, FCA and SFC regulators respectively). The news came only two weeks after Baidu announcing a blanket ban on binary broker ads.
The apparent reason for the tightening of acceptable marketing subjects on Baidu is a wave of Chinese public outcry against the search engine for allowing questionable ads. The demands for higher standards came from consumers after a twenty-one year old student died from cancer following his use of an unconventional medical treatment he found in the paid search results, and caused the Chinese internet censors (Cyberspace Administration of China) to focus on the subject.
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