The US Trade Representative's (USTR's) office has claimed that China's number one search engine Baidu uses its internet marketing services to facilitate counterfeit goods and pirated material.

According to the body, the domain, which is in the top 10 most popular websites in the world, provides links that direct users to sites where they can purchase fake items, as well as download media content illegally.

It claims Baidu uses 'deep links' to bypass home pages and deliver content directly to individuals, which is often stored on third-party hosting sites.

The Chinese search provider is the most prominent service in the list of "notorious markets" released by the USTR that also includes websites based in Russia and India.

While the list is not a legal finding, the organisation hopes it will encourage the relevant authorities to take action to counter the problem of trading in counterfeit and pirated goods over the internet.

It was also reported last week that Baidu is set for some competition in the Chinese market that it currently dominates, as state-run news agency Xinhua announced the launch of its own search engine.

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