New tech export controls could give Beijing a say in TikTok sale

People are seen at the Bytedance Technology booth at the Digital China Exhibition in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 31 August 2020

New tech export controls could give Beijing a say in TikTok sale

  • China has revised a list of technologies that are banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years

SHANGHAI: China’s new rules around tech exports mean ByteDance’s sale of TikTok’s US operations could need Beijing’s approval, a Chinese trade expert told state media, a requirement that would complicate the forced and politically charged divestment.

ByteDance has been ordered by President Donald Trump to divest short video app TikTok in the United States amid security concerns over the personal data it handles. Microsoft Corp. and Oracle Corp. are among the suitors for the assets, which also includes TikTok’s Canada, New Zealand and Australia operations.

However, China late on Friday revised a list of technologies that are banned or restricted for export for the first time in 12 years. Cui Fan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, said the changes would apply to TikTok.

“If ByteDance plans to export related technologies, it should go through the licensing procedures,” Cui said in an interview with Xinhua published on Saturday.

China’s Ministry of Commerce added 23 items — including technologies such as personal information push services based on data analysis and artificial intelligence interactive interface technology — to the restricted list.

It can take up to 30 days to obtain preliminary approval to export the technology.

“We are studying the new regulations that were released Friday. As with any cross-border transaction, we will follow the applicable laws, which in this case include those of the United States and China,” ByteDance general counsel Erich Andersen said.

TikTok’s secret weapon is believed to be its recommendation engine that keeps users glued to their screens. This engine, or algorithm, powers TikTok’s “For You” page, which recommends the next video to watch based on an analysis of your behavior.

Cui noted that ByteDance’s development overseas had relied on its domestic technology that provided the core algorithm and said the company may need to transfer software codes or usage rights to the new owner of TikTok from China to overseas.

“Therefore, it is recommended that ByteDance seriously studies the adjusted catalogue and carefully considers whether it is necessary to suspend” negotiations on a sale, he added.

China’s Foreign Ministry has said it opposes the executive orders Trump has placed on TikTok and that Beijing will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses.


UAE extends key parts of $13.6bn economic support plan until mid-2022

Updated 29 min 38 sec ago

UAE extends key parts of $13.6bn economic support plan until mid-2022

  • Move will help banks offer new loans
  • Part of wider response to pandemic

The UAE Central Bank has extended key parts of its 50 billion dirams ($13.6 billion) economic support plan until mid-2022.
Under this extension, financial institutions will still be able to benefit from a zero-cost liquidity facility covered by a guarantee of 50 billion dirhams until June 30, 2022, it said in a statement on Tuesday.
The extension decision enables banks to provide new loans and financing to individual clients, small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and other private sector companies affected by the repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The extension of the targeted economic support plan will provide continuous support from the financial system for the sectors adversely affected by the pandemic,” said Governor Khalid Al-Tameemi.
“This comes as part of support for the recovery phase, in line with the Emirates Central Bank’s mandate to ensure Financial and monetary stability in the Emirates,” he explained.
The Targeted Economic Support Plan is a comprehensive program that covers all measures taken by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Bitcoin fund to get Dubai listing

Updated 20 April 2021

Bitcoin fund to get Dubai listing

  • The shares are expected to start trading on Nasdaq Dubai in the second quarter

DUBAI: Canadian digital asset management firm 3iQ has received regulatory clearance for a dual listing of the Bitcoin Fund on Nasdaq Dubai, making it the Middle East’s first indexed cryptocurrency digital asset-based fund, 3iQ’s chief executive said.
The Bitcoin Fund, which was listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange last year, has roughly $1.5 billion in assets under management and plans to manage double that next year, Frederick Pye, chairman and CEO of 3iQ, told Reuters in an interview.
“The idea is bitcoin trades 24 hours a day ... so our interest is to bring a regulated product to the Dubai market in their time hours,” Pye said.
The shares are expected to start trading on Nasdaq Dubai in the second quarter. Pye said 3iQ is already in talks with exchanges in Singapore, Taiwan, Sweden and the United States to list the Bitcoin Fund in those markets, eventually aiming for cryptocurrency trading around the clock.
Dalma Capital, a Dubai-based alternative investment firm, was 3iQ’s syndicate manager for the fund’s Middle East expansion. Corporate finance adviser 01 Capital and investment firm Razlin Capital, both London-based, advised on the listing and Pinsent Masons was legal counsel for the listing process.
“We believe that this is the opportune moment to expand this unique investment opportunity into the Middle East region,” said Pye.
Institutional investors including sovereign wealth funds have expressed interest in the listing, said Zachary Cefaratti, CEO of Dalma Capital Management.
“There’s just been a lot of grassroots demand for it. Historically, investors who tried to invest in bitcoin through their regional banks ... in a lot of cases, if the banks found out they were sending money to cryptocurrency exchanges, they would actually close their accounts. So this is a huge shift and a huge change,” Cefaratti said.


Dubai Aerospace orders 15 Boeing 737 MAX jets

Updated 20 April 2021

Dubai Aerospace orders 15 Boeing 737 MAX jets

  • Follows 737 grounding after 2018/19 crashes
  • UAE lifted its ban on the aircraft this year

DUBAI: Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), one of the world’s biggest leasing companies, on Tuesday announced an order for 15 Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets worth $1.8 billion at list prices.
The order signals a further show of confidence in the narrow-body jet, which had its nearly two-year safety ban in the United States lifted late last year. The United Arab Emirates lifted their ban this year.
“We are confident in the success of these aircraft as domestic and regional air travel is seeing strong signs of recovery,” DAE CEO Firoz Tarapore said in a statement.
The 737 MAX jets were grounded globally following fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019.


IEA issues ‘dire warning’ on CO2 emissions as it predicts 5% rise

Updated 20 April 2021

IEA issues ‘dire warning’ on CO2 emissions as it predicts 5% rise

  • This year’s rise will likely be driven by a resurgence in coal
  • Global energy demand is set to increase by 4.6 percent in 2021

LONDON: Global CO2 emissions from energy are seen rising nearly 5 percent this year, suggesting the economic rebound from COVID-19 could be “anything but sustainable” for the climate, the International Energy Agency said on Tuesday.
The IEA’s Global Energy Review 2021 predicted carbon dioxide emissions would rise to 33 billion tons this year, up 1.5 billion tons from 2020 levels in the largest single increase in more than a decade.
“This is a dire warning that the economic recovery from the COVID crisis is currently anything but sustainable for our climate,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said.
This year’s rise will likely be driven by a resurgence in coal use in the power sector, Birol added, which the report forecast to be particularly strong in Asia.
It should also put pressure on governments to act on climate change. US President Joe Biden will hold a virtual summit for dozens of world leaders this week to discuss the issue ahead of global talks in Scotland later this year. Last year, when power use dropped due to the COVID-19 pandemic, energy-related CO2 emissions fell by 5.8 percent to 31.5 billion tons, after peaking in 2019 at 33.4 billion tons.
The IEA’s annual review analyzed the latest national data from around the world, economic growth trends and new energy projects that are set to come online.
Global energy demand is set to increase by 4.6 percent in 2021, led by developing economies, pushing it above 2019 levels, the report said.
Demand for all fossil fuels is on course to grow in 2021, with both coal and gas set to rise above 2019 levels.
The expected rise in coal use dwarves that of renewables by almost 60 percent, despite accelerating demand for solar, wind and hydro power. More than 80 percent of the projected growth in coal demand in 2021 is set to come from Asia, led by China.
Coal use in the United States and the European Union is also on course to increase but will remain well below pre-crisis levels, the IEA said.


Saudi Arabia is China's top oil supplier for seventh straight month

Updated 20 April 2021

Saudi Arabia is China's top oil supplier for seventh straight month

  • Shipments from UAE and Oman surge
  • Some Iranian barrels believed to have slipped in

BEIJING: China’s crude oil imports from top supplier Saudi Arabia rose 8.8 percent in March from a year earlier, driven by strong demand and as shipments delayed due to a port congestion finally arrived.
Imports from the United Arab Emirates also rose again, up 86 percent, as some Iranian barrels were believed to have slipped in. Shipments from Saudi Arabia were 7.84 million tons, equivalent to 1.85 million barrels per day (bpd), data issued by China’s General Administration of Customs showed on Tuesday.
That was higher than 1.7 million bpd a year earlier, but below imports of 1.94 million bpd in February. Saudi Arabia retained its position as China’s biggest crude oil supplier for a seventh consecutive month. Ports at China’s oil refining hub Shandong experienced congestion for a few weeks over January and February, slowing oil arrivals. China’s crude oil imports from Russia rose 6 percent in March to 1.75 million bpd from a year ago, but slipped from 1.91 million bpd in February. Analysts from Refinitiv expect arrivals from Saudi Arabia to further drop in April given a voluntary supply cut of 1 million bpd by the producer and increasing prices of Arab light crude for the Asian market.
Appetite of spot oil would turn to more price competitive African sources, with China’s imports from Angola at 0.74 million bpd in March, versus 0.73 mln bpd a month ago. The customs data also showed that crude oil supplies from Kuwait increased to 0.6 million bpd, up 29 percent from a year earlier. China’s imports from the UAE were at 0.71 million bpd last month, up 86 percent on year. Shipments from Oman rose 60 percent from a year ago to 0.86 million bpd.