February 23, 2017 / 3:04 PM / in 5 months

Baidu denies CEO faces travel ban

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FILE PHOTO: Baidu Inc. Chairman and Chief Executive Robin Li speaks in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China, December 17, 2015.Aly Song/File Photo - RTSW2AX

BEIJING (Reuters) - Baidu Inc, the Internet firm behind China's largest search engine, on Thursday denied media reports that said CEO Robin Li was subject to a travel ban.

A crackdown on corruption in China, spearheaded by President Xi Jinping, has ensnared a number of high profile executives and sparked media speculation about others.

Last month, Chinese billionaire Xiao Jianhua went missing after leaving his hotel in Hong Kong and is now believed to be in mainland China.

Taiwanese news site Bowen Press reported on Wednesday that Baidu CEO Li had been banned from traveling outside China.

A Baidu spokeswoman denied that Li faced a travel ban. Chinese media which had reported the travel ban on Li later removed their stories.

Bowen Press was not available for immediate comment.

Baidu will report its fourth-quarter earnings on Friday.

Reporting by Cate Cadell; Editing by Jason Neely and Susan Fenton

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