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Friday, 25 January, 2002, 15:41 GMT
China website giants fight it out
Making an internet phone call at a Beijing computer exhibition January 2000
China's internet industry is growing fast
The two biggest Chinese-language internet websites are embroiled in a vicious legal battle over copyrights.

The Sina.com portal is suing its rival, Sohu.com for alleged copyright violations.

Beijing computer exhibition January 2000
Surfing the net at Sina's stall at Beijing computer show
But Sohu says the accusations are groundless and is threatening legal action against Sina for damaging its reputation.

Sina accuses Sohu of copying and plagiarising its content.

Sina says it filed the lawsuit after Sohu copied its mobile phone ring tones and image logos.

Claim and counter-claim

"Sina has endured large-scale plagiarism and rights violations of our product resources, including short messages, finance and sports channels," the company said in a statement on its website.

Sina is asking for more than $35,000 in compensation and an apology.

Sohu, however, dismisses the accusations as "ridiculous".

'Ulterior motives'

It says its rival has started a public relations battle in an attempt to raise its profile.

"Sina started a PR battle in China aiming to damage Sohu's reputation," it said in a statement.

"We reserve the right to take legal action against Sina for damaging Sohu's reputation," the statement said.

Sina and Sohu are listed on the high-tech Nasdaq exchange in New York, along with a third Chinese internet company, Netease.com.

They are known as China's "Big Three" dot coms.

See also:

27 Jul 00 | Business
China clears US trade hurdle
13 Jul 00 | Business
China predicts e-commerce boom
26 Aug 00 | Asia-Pacific
China tackles cybersquatters
17 Jan 02 | South Asia
China and India 'could lead in IT'
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