Search engine Jike.com recently announced it has created a consumer complaint Web site, bgt.jike.com, to provide a platform for Chinese consumers to report and identify inferior pharmaceutical products and services in the country.
The site was launched in collaboration with security software provider Qihoo 360's search engine, Chinese newspaper Health Times, and the China State Food and Drug Administration (SFDA), according to local reports. If a number of netizens complained about a specific product or service on the platform, the search engine will compile the posts into a single consumer complaint entry on the site.
Internet companies should bear certain amount of social responsibilities, and Jike.com expects to figure out a different path which strives to develop search and data impacting the livelihood of the Chinese people, according to the search engine's general manager, Deng Yaping, also a well-known former local athlete who won four Olympic gold medal in table tennis.
Launched by government-owned newspaper People's Daily, Jike.com was barely known by Internet users including those in China until recent local reports said the company was cutting about 25 percent of its 400 employees, given its poor performance in the search market.
Some reports pointed out that the company had spent 2 billion yuan (US$321.4 million) over the past two years, but made basically no income, even though it remained one of the top 10 search players in China.
Jike.com's new move to focus on livelihood search is also believed to target current search leader Baidu.com, which has over 70 percent market share and one its key weaknesses is the proliferation of counterfeit drug advertising in its search result.
With the launch of its consumer complaint site, Jike.com had hit Baidu's weak spot, according to Sina News which cited an analyst.
However, days after Jike.com's complaint site was launched, Baidu announced it had been given access to SFDA's three major databases to provide new search functions to identify certified drugs. This would allow users to search for information via Baidu's search engine using the drug's brand or generic names, and approval number. Baidu would also display a "certified" tag next to online stores which have been certified to sell drugs.
Baidu also said it would launch a site for consumers to file complaints against pharmaceutical products.