This excerpt taken from the SOHU 10-K filed Mar 25, 2005.
We depend on ChinaNet and China Netcom for telecommunications services, and any interruption in these services may result in severe disruptions to our business.
Although private Internet service providers exist in China, almost all access to the Internet is maintained through ChinaNet, currently owned by China Netcom and China Telecom, under the administrative control and regulatory supervision of the MII. In addition, local networks connect to the Internet through a government-owned international gateway. This international gateway is the only channel through which a domestic Chinese user can connect to the international Internet network. We rely on this infrastructure and China Netcom and China Telecom. to provide data communications capacity primarily through local telecommunications lines. Although the government has announced aggressive plans to develop the national information infrastructure, this infrastructure may not be developed and the Internet infrastructure in China may not be able to support the continued growth of Internet usage. In addition, we will have no access to alternative networks and services, on a timely basis if at all, in the event of any infrastructure disruption or failure.
Our Bandwidth Provision and Server Hosting Agreement with CNC Beijing, the local branch of China Netcom, has expired on December 20, 2004 and we are negotiating a renewal of this agreement. We also plan to enter into another Bandwidth Provision and Server Hosting Agreement with another operator, China Telecom. Under these agreements, we expect to establish two main service provision centers to maintain most of our servers in Beijing. However, as there are limited telecommunication infrastructure service providers, we may not be able to lease additional bandwidth on acceptable terms, on a timely basis, or at all. If we are not able to lease additional bandwidth, the development of our business can be affected.