Baidu.com, China's answer to Google, has announced that it is to delete thousands of links to internet sites offering pirated music.
The move is a response to requests from R2G, a Chinese digital rights management company, which is currently preparing for a US initial public offering expected to raise around $55m.
But most analysts have suggested that the move is a sticking plaster treatment for a growing problem rather than a cure.
Salman Momen, director at Capgemini's media and technology division, said: "Baidu maintained weblinks to music files much like the original Napster maintained a central register of MP3 locations for file sharing.
"Removing the links makes it harder to find the files, but history shows that the centralised model of peer-to-peer sharing was soon replaced by decentralised and distributed applications such as BitTorrent."
Lee Myall, media services director at European telco Interoute, maintained that China's piracy problem needed to be targeted at source.
"The best way to limit damage is to stop the content being copied/pirated in the first place," he said. "Step one is at the pre-release stage where content is at its most desirable and likely to spread most virulently."
But ironically the music industry may never be profitable in China until it finds a legitimate way of online distribution.
"The problem for the music industry in a country such as China is its sheer size, and it is unlikely that any retailer could cover every single region," said Momen.
"Until retail outlets/channels of legitimate products are made more universally available and accessible, it may simply be easier to buy an illegal copy."
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