According to decisions recently announced by Qingdao Intermediate People's Court, China Unicom Qingdao and Tsingtao Osun Network Technique Company were punished for hijacking traffic from other commercial websites.
This is the first time that a telecom operator has been punished for website traffic hijacking in China.
Reports in local media state that starting from February 2009, China Unicom Qingdao's Internet users would enter an advertising page when they entered search keywords on search engine Baidu.com; and then the corresponding search results pages would appear. Baidu.com replied that they never launched such advertising services when receiving inquiries from users.
An investigation by Qingdao Intermediate People's Court shows that the advertisements were inserted by Tsingtao Osun Network and this activity was the proof the court needed that the company hijacked the traffic of Baidu.com in Qingdao, constituting an infringement and unfair competition. In addition, as the operator of this network, China Unicom Qingdao should bear the corresponding liabilities. Therefore, the two companies were each fined several hundred thousand yuan and were ordered to make public apologies.