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NetEase sues Tmall for unfair competition
NetEase has filed an RMB 10 million lawsuit against Alibaba’s Tmall for unfair competition, local media has reported (in Chinese). In the filing, the Chinese tech conglomerate accused Tmall of using Netease’s product search engine’s brand and product names as keywords to intentionally confuse and misguide users on 360 Search (360搜索).
Huihui (惠惠网), NetEase’s product search engine, offers advertising solutions for B2C and C2C partners. Huihui Shopping Assistant (惠惠购物助手) is a price comparison software that automatically compares prices when users browse e-commerce sites. As of November 2016, Huihui Shopping Assistant garnered over 100 million users.
NetEase said they discovered last year when entering search terms like “Huihui,” “Huihui Assistant,” or “Huihui shopping assistant,” the search results that popped up were all Tmall related results and none were about Huihui’s products. All results were linked to Tmall’s web pages.
The company said the confusion is caused by the keywords that Tmall allegedly used in its product descriptions, which included Huihui’s registered brand name and product name without permission. The company believes that Tmall intentionally confuses users by using the misleading keywords and that Tmall is taking advantage of Huihui’s good name and product awareness to gain more exposure and site traffic through malpractices, which NetEase claims that it has negatively affected Huihui’s business particularly in obtaining advertisement deals—a main source of revenue.