The case of Wei Zexi has raised concerns about Baidu’s dominance of the mainland’s online search market. Wei, a 21-year-old university student in Shaanxi province, died of a rare form of cancer last month after receiving an experimental therapy at a hospital in Beijing that paid to get a prominent listing on the search engine. With Google largely blocked on the mainland, Baidu has become virtually the only choice for internet users there. By late last year, Baidu had more than 70 per cent of a market with about 700 million internet users. Qihoo 360 accounted for about 13.3 per cent of the pie, while Sogou took up about 12.4 per cent, according to China Analysys, an internet data analysis firm. China launches probe into Baidu over paid search listings after student dies following cancer treatment sourced online “An internet company dominates the search business in China,” one internet user commented on a report by Thepaper.cn about Wei’s death. “We have to ask what causes such domination? If there was more of a flow of information available, would Wei still have been tricked?” The mainland’s internet watchdog has launched an investigation into the death of Wei and the prominent placement of sponsored health-care providers in Baidu search results. Mainland internet users were able to use Google until 2010, when the company switched its servers to Hong Kong, partly in a dispute over censorship. Later, the government blocked it on the mainland. An increasing number of tech-savvy internet users now rely on virtual private networks or other tools to bypass censorship online on the mainland and to connect to the internet outside. All online search engines censor search results on the mainland.