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TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer Steps Down Following Trump’s Call

Just months after being appointed, TikTok CEO, Kevin Mayer, a past Disney executive, has retired amid a charged political environment.

In a letter to employees, Mayer blamed a ‘sharply changed political environment’ for his action following a directive from President Donald Trump to ByteDance to sell up to an American firm within three months. 

Mayer’s position will be taken by General Manager, Vanessa Pappas, albeit temporarily.

A part of the letter read, ‘In recent weeks, as the political environment has sharply changed, I have done significant reflection on what the corporate structural changes will require, and what it means for the global role I signed up for.’

‘Against this backdrop, and as we expect to reach a resolution very soon, it is with a heavy heart that I wanted to let you all know that I have decided to leave the company.’

In a statement, TikTok thanked him for his service and said that it ‘respectfully respected his decision.’

It seems like Mayer is not on the same page with the President who thinks that TikTok is a national security threat, don’t you think?

Israeli Tech ‘Craving’ for UAE Money

The loosening in relations between the United Arab Emirates and Israel has given birth to hopes of an influx of funds in ‘Silicon Wadi,’ Israel’s equivalent of Silicon Valley. 

This expectation follows this month’s accord between the two regions and means that after Jordan and Egypt, the UAE is the third Arab state to have formal relations with the Israelis.

Eldad Tamir, CEO and founder of one of Israeli’s premier investment funds, Tamir Fishman investment house, thinks that ‘the UAE has excess amounts of money, but not enough places to invest it in the Middle East.’

He continues to say, ‘the high-tech sector here is thirsty for money and having new investors from the UAE will help us diversify a bit from our usual Chinese and American investor.’

At present, UAE investors usually ignore Israel when investing in both regional and global share indexes.

After this deal to normalize diplomatic relations, do you think that some investors’ long-term animosity towards Israel could be overcome for the greater economic good for everyone involved? 

And do you envision other Arab states following suit?

European Chipmakers Could Suffer in US Fight with Huawei

Although Europe’s semiconductor manufacturers don’t depend a lot on American expertise on the chips they deliver to Huawei, this doesn’t mean that they are in the clear. 

The Europeans could still be affected by the tightening restrictions by the US on the Chinese firm. 

Last week, the US Department of Commerce announced that it expects foreign firms to get licensing to equip Huawei with elements based on certain US technology. 

Lots of parts manufactured by European chipmakers, like AMS AG and STMicroelectronics NV, end up in smartphones made by Huawei.

In case Huawei is unable to get other components for their smartphones, analysts expect STMicro to experience a revenue loss of up to 6%.

Now, it is clear that productions of handsets could be affected in case their other parts use American intellectual property or components.

So far, Europe has been a victim of the rising tensions between the two global powers, and recently, the UK banned Huawei from future wireless infrastructure following increased pressure from the US. 

What is you take on Europe’s position, forced to balance relations between a vital security ally on one side, and a global trading partner on the other?

US Sanctions 24 Chinese Firms

The US has imposed sanctions against dozens of companies in China for assisting Beijing in advancing its territorial claim in the South China Sea.

Interestingly, this is the first-such punitive move aimed at China, and it is bound to push the already-heightened tensions even higher.

In a Wednesday statement, the US Department of Commerce stated that the twenty-four state-owned firms ‘played a role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea and must be held responsible.’ 

These companies include some subsidiaries of CCCC (China Communications Construction Company). 

These firms would be included in the Commerce Department’s Entity List. This list restricts US companies from selling American tech and goods without a special license.

And in a separate statement on Wednesday, the US State Department announced the move to impose visa restrictions on Chinese citizens ‘responsible for, or complicit in, either the large-scale reclamation, construction, or militarization of disputed outposts in the South China Sea, or the PRC’s use of coercion against Southeast Asian claimants to inhibit their access to offshore resources.’

Do you see an end to these actions, or will it be a case of retaliation after retaliation by both sides?

The Hut Group’s Expected $1.2 Billion IPO Interrupts London Lull

A move by British e-commerce firm The Hut Group to sell $1.2 billion (£920 million) of new stocks in an IPO has injected a new lease of life in an otherwise quiet market in 2020.  

Without revealing the size of the offer, the firm said that current shareholders are also expected to decrease their stakes.

In addition, ‘the Hut Group plans to have a free float of at least 20% of the company’s share capital and a fixed offer price equating to a pre-money equity value of £4.5 billion.’

At $1.2 billion, this listing would rank as the biggest by a British company in London since Trainline, the online rail ticketing firm’s listing in July 2019. 

The group also manages websites such as Coggles.com and MyProtein.com that sell nutrition and beauty products.

It is worthy to note that the COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on IPO activity, and only seven firms have been able to go public in 2020 so far in London.

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