My daughter, still a Covid-19 castaway from New York, locked out rather than locked down now in her efforts to get back, has also failed to get this London household to loosen up and record a TikTok dance with her.
The app’s owner ByteDance is facing a lockout in the US as well, to accompany its own pullout of TikTok from Hong Kong and a ban in India. secretary of state Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Monday the Trump administration was considering banning Chinese social media apps including TikTok. He warned Americans they should download TikTok “only if you want your private information in the hands of the Chinese Communist party”.
A week ago, India banned 59 of China’s biggest mobile apps, including TikTok, alleging they were breaching the privacy of Indian users and mining their data. ByteDance’s move to withdraw TikTok in Hong Kong may have also been about stopping private information from getting into the hands of the Chinese Communist party — its action followed Facebook, Google and Twitter saying they would temporarily block Hong Kong’s authorities from accessing user data.
On Tuesday, ByteDance joined Zoom and Microsoft in becoming the latest companies to rethink their operations in Hong Kong. Apple is a notable exception so far in not taking action. Yuan Yang in Beijing says tech companies are playing for time while they wait to see how the world responds to the new laws, which force companies to aid national security investigations by freezing users’ accounts, handing over private data and/or taking down posts.
Lex points out that while ByteDance would want to avoid offending the authorities in its country, China is a saturated market for it with its Douyin version of TikTok. Growth in revenues and its valuation will come from international expansion, particularly in America, but how it keeps both the US and China happy sounds like one impossible dance routine.
The Internet of (Five) Things
1. China tech’s market retreat
News and social media company Sina, one of China’s internet pioneers, has received a $2.7bn management buyout offer which would spell the end of its 20-year-long listing on Nasdaq. Behind this is the bill passed by the US Senate in May that could force Chinese companies to delist if they do not meet US accounting standards. And Beijing is encouraging new listings in Shanghai: Smic, China’s biggest chipmaker, expects to raise $6.55bn for its IPO there, up from $2.8bn. Chinese chipmakers have already raised more than twice as much from the equity market in 2020 than in all of 2019, reports the Nikkei Asian Review.
2. Palantir preps for IPO
The Silicon Valley data analytics company, co-founded by technology entrepreneur Peter Thiel and known for its closely guarded work with government agencies, has submitted a confidential draft registration statement. It indicated the controversial company could opt for a direct listing, in which no new shares are sold.
3. Wirecard bidders line up
More than 100 potential bidders have flagged their interest in buying parts of the insolvent German payments group, its administrator said on Tuesday. Munich prosecutors have arrested Oliver Bellenhaus, who ran the unit at the heart of Wirecard’s alleged fraud from his apartment in Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. He is the second senior officer to be detained, after former chief executive Markus Braun. Mr Bellenhaus, a 46-year-old sports car enthusiast, was arrested on suspicion of aggravated fraud. This week’s #fintechFT newsletter says the scandal looks like an Enron moment for today’s fintech sector.
4. Samsung predicts rise despite pandemic
The world’s biggest producer of computer chips, smartphones and electronic displays has projected unexpectedly robust second-quarter profits. Chip prices were boosted by data centres stockpiling chips as online activity surged, the company said. One-off gains for its display business also buoyed operating profit.
5. Micro Focus blames macro problems
In contrast to Samsung, the UK-listed tech group, which has struggled to integrate the HP Enterprise software business it bought in 2017, has recorded a $922m writedown, blaming increased economic uncertainty, disruption to new sales and pressure on renewals. It reported a $1bn half-year loss compared to a $1.4bn profit a year earlier.
Tech tools — Moto g 5G Plus
Motorola will release a budget 5G phone, just for Europe, on Wednesday. The £299 (€349) Moto g 5G Plus is one of the cheapest devices to offer cutting edge connectivity, according to Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com.
“The quad camera set-up goes toe-to-toe with many of its top-end rivals, boasting a 48MP main lens supplemented by an 8MP wide, 5MP macro and a depth-of-field sensor. The 6.7-inch Full HD+ resolution screen looks like something from a more expensive model, and its 90Hz refresh rate punches well above its weight.”
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