E-commerce rivals Alibaba Group and JD.com Inc plan to file lawsuits to protect their interests as they trade claims of being under organized public relations attacks instigated by the other party, according to media reports on Tuesday.
Bitter exchanges between the two started this week after Alibaba claimed that it was the target of a large-scale online rumor campaign organized by JD.com through a third party, domestic news website changjiangtimes.com reported.
Through its lawyers, JD.com disputed this claim, saying that it had been targeted by an "Internet army" spreading "malicious attacks without factual and legal basis."
JD.com said it had reported these activities to law enforcement agencies and that it "reserves the right to take further legal actions against other parties that might have violated the law," according to the changjiangtimes.com report.
The rumored third party is Fang Xingdong, the founder of technology think tank ChinaLabs, who has denied any involvement. ChinaLabs published a statement on its official blog, saying that the company had not signed any PR contract with JD.com.
The report noted that malicious attacks against competitors had become a problem in the Internet sector in China in recent years and efforts were needed to eradicate such illegal activities.