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08.10.2020 | Aquifer Tech Snapshot August 3-7 | TikTok, WeChat, Reels, and more

Updated: Sep 25



Trump issues executive order to ban TikTok and WeChat in the U.S.

There has been much disruption and confusion about Trump’s executive order to ban TikTok and WeChat in the U.S., both of which are Chinese-owned social networking apps. Many particular legal details are up in the air, though here is what we know for certain.


Trump has indicated his executive bans against the Chinese-owned social networking apps is in retaliation against the coronavirus which broke out in China in December, a virus which he touts as the “Chinese virus.” Trump has also expressed concern about American user data being sent to China.

Microsoft was in talks with ByteDance to buy 30% of TikTok and own the U.S. operations, though here is where the details go up in the air. Trump has suggested that Microsoft buy all of TikTok, or else TikTok may be banned in the U.S. on September 15.


In similar fashion, Trump aims to ban WeChat, owned by Tencent, in the U.S. by September 15. WeChat is highly relied upon by users in China, with the app being a central place for messaging, social networking, virtual payments, ride hailing, calendar, map, and much more. Without WeChat, Chinese people in the U.S. will have a harder time communicating with friends and family in China, especially when tensions between the U.S. and China are high.


Instagram announces Reels to compete with TikTok

In another blow to TikTok, Instagram recently announced a new way to create entertaining videos: Reels.


Reels allows Instagram users to create 15-second videos with options for AR filters, sound effects, music, and other creative tools.


TikTok has been downloaded over 2.3 billion times (that’s roughly 30% of the world’s population) and has cemented itself as a central place for social entertainment and interaction for Gen Z-ers. With the drama surrounding TikTok in the U.S., Reels may have introduced itself to the U.S. market at a prime time to steal TikTok’s thunder.


Streaming services are up in Q2

People are continuing to stay home during the worldwide pandemic, thus streaming services have seen an influx of new customers and usage. Disney achieved 60 million subscribers years ahead of schedule in part thanks to its offering of Hamilton. Netflix saw an increase in 10 million subscribers, with a total of almost 193 million subscribers.Roku and HBO Max have also seen increases in their customer base, however they may not experience the same growth rates in Q3/4.

Jeff Bezos invests $10B in climate change fund

Jeff Bezos, the richest person in the world at a net worth of almost $190B, has quietly formed an LLC called the “Bezos Earth Fund” to execute a $10B climate change strategy. Though Bezos and his newly formed LLC are very hush-hush on the details of how they will allocate the $10B, this is one of the most significant contributions to the world coming from the world’s richest person, especially with $10B being one of the largest individual contributions in history.


Chargepoint secures an additional $127M in funding

ChargePoint, the leading charging network for electric vehicles, has secured an additional $127M in funding, which it will use for global commercial and fleet businesses. ChargePoint currently has over 114,000 charging stations with customers charging their cars every 2 seconds. With nearly a decade of leadership in electric charging infrastructure, ChargePoint may be well positioned to lead the transformation from the reliance of gasoline to electric-powered vehicles for transportation and personal ownership.


Rippling acquires $145M at a $1.3B valuation to build platform for employee data

With its new round of funding, Ripping is now a unicorn. Rippling is building an all-in-one platform for employees, which would manage payroll, benefits, and device management.

CEO Parker Conrad will use the new funding to continue its product development and R&D. Ripping offers its service at an affordable $8/employee and at a time where remote work is at an all-time high, companies will have greater visibility into their employees.

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