A scandal around Chinese wiki Baike (“互动百科” in Chinese) entry counterfeiting is causing a stir. As reported (in Chinese) by state television broadcaster CCTV’s annual gala for World Consumer Rights day, the for-profit encyclopedia was discovered to be allowing contributors to create entries at will as long as they pay advertising fees.
According to the report, fabricated and false medical content was found in articles. While the platform may sometimes remove content, a deleted entry can be reinstated as long as the contributor pays RMB 4,800. An entry related to a doctor or a medical expert only costs RMB 1,980 a year. The practice has left loopholes for some “customers” to create entries for illegitimate interests.
Baike.com, claiming itself to be the largest Chinese wiki and “devoting itself to providing mass, comprehensive, timely and free encyclopedic information to hundreds of millions of Chinese users,” was founded in 2005 and got listed on the country’s ChiNext in February 2016.
According to public data released by Baike.com (in Chinese), it has 16 million entries and 20 million pictures created by 11 million users, with mobile app users of 20 million as of the end of 2016.
Baike.com has a fierce traditional rivalry with Baidu Baike (“百度百科” in Chinese), an online collaboratively-built encyclopedia under internet giant Baidu.
The current entry fabrication scandal may even worsen the profit outlook for Baike.com, which has swung to a net loss of RMB 4.3 million in H1 2016 (in Chinese).