Biden Bans Investment in China Chips, AI and Quantum Tech

A new White House executive order prohibits certain U.S. investment in China for technologies including computer chips, requiring government notification for some sectors. The order authorizes the Treasury Department to restrict U.S. investments in Chinese entities involved in the development and production of semiconductors, quantum computing and artificial intelligence systems. The Biden administration says the restrictions apply to “narrow subsets” within the three areas, with a goal of preventing American capital and expertise from advancing technologies that could be used by the Chinese military in ways that could threaten U.S. national security. Continue reading Biden Bans Investment in China Chips, AI and Quantum Tech

Montana’s TikTok Ban Tees Up First Amendment Legal Battle

Montana has become the first state to institute an outright ban on TikTok, barring it from operating in the region and prohibiting app stores from providing downloads there. The move is opposed not only by the Chinese-owned TikTok, but by free speech advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union. The ban is set to go into effect January 1, 2024, though legal challenges could delay that implementation. Observers say the inevitable lawsuits fighting the legislation could prove instructive as relates to proposed federal TikTok bans in development in Washington. Continue reading Montana’s TikTok Ban Tees Up First Amendment Legal Battle

Former TikTok Worker Tells Congress Project Texas ‘Flawed’

A former TikTok employee has stepped forward to inform congressional investigators that the company’s proposal for protecting U.S. user data is “deeply flawed,” potentially leaving data for more than 100 million American citizens exposed to parsing by China-based entities, including parent company ByteDance and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) rulers. The allegations come at a sensitive time in negotiations with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to keep TikTok operating in the U.S. over the objection of a bipartisan contingent of lawmakers, who are calling for a ban. Continue reading Former TikTok Worker Tells Congress Project Texas ‘Flawed’

TikTok Considers $1.5 Billion Plan to Quell Security Concerns

TikTok is in discussions with U.S. lawmakers about a $1.5 billion plan to reorganize its operations in order to provide more transparency and allay fears of Chinese spying and data manipulation. The talks have become more urgent in recent months as regulators at the federal and state level are threatening to ban the short-form video app on government-issued devices. TikTok parent ByteDance been negotiating with CFIUS, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. since 2019, when an investigation was opened following the Beijing-based media firm’s acquisition of Musical.ly, which it merged into TikTok. Continue reading TikTok Considers $1.5 Billion Plan to Quell Security Concerns

Congress Intros Bills to Ban TikTok Due to Security Concerns

The U.S. House and Senate have introduced companion bills to ban TikTok and other apps that censor news, pose threats to the personal data of U.S. citizens and entities or engage in other surreptitious behaviors. The Senate bill, advanced by Marco Rubio (R-Florida) is called the ANTI-SOCIAL CCP Act, an acronym for Averting the National Threat of Internet Surveillance, Oppressive Censorship and Influence, and Algorithmic Learning by the Chinese Communist Party. The related House bill has bipartisan support from Representatives Mike Gallagher (R-Wisconsin) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Illinois). Continue reading Congress Intros Bills to Ban TikTok Due to Security Concerns

Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

During Apple’s Q2 conference call a few weeks ago, CEO Tim Cook admitted China’s new COVID-19 lockdowns would result in supply chain disruptions causing as much as $8 billion in lost sales this year. Although Cook tried to emphasize Apple’s supply chain as “truly global,” with manufacturing in the U.S. and elsewhere, the company’s reliance on China could be problematic, and reports are surfacing that sources at the company are saying Apple is now on the hunt for production locations outside China, with India and Vietnam, where Apple already has small manufacturing operations, mentioned as candidates. Continue reading Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

Biden Administration Intends to Contain TikTok Security Risk

The Commerce Department is taking steps to shore-up federal rules against potential security risks from foreign-owned social platforms like ByteDance’s TikTok, expanding federal oversight to include apps that might be used by “foreign adversaries to steal or otherwise obtain data,” a recent filing in the Federal Register stipulates. The proposed rule allows the commerce secretary to designate certain foreign apps as security risks and force software connected to the Internet to submit to third-party auditing. Such audits could include monitoring logs that show user data as well as the parsing of source code. Continue reading Biden Administration Intends to Contain TikTok Security Risk

Didi Exits NYSE for Hong Kong, China Tightens Tech Control

China is making an investment statement as it attempts to take control of its financial future and set new yen-centric standards for international monetary exchange. Much is being read into Didi Chuxing delisting itself Friday from the New York Stock Exchange, where it raised billions of dollars, capping at $39 billion for the Beijing version of Uber. The message is: with money of its own and a knack for finding more, the world’s No. 2 economy feels it no longer needs Wall Street and says it will relist on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Continue reading Didi Exits NYSE for Hong Kong, China Tightens Tech Control

Microsoft Closing LinkedIn in China, Retooling for Jobs-Only

LinkedIn will shut down its platform in China by the end of the year, the result of “a significantly more challenging operating environment and greater compliance requirements.” The Microsoft-owned company says it plans to offer a new app for China that focuses exclusively on job postings. Gone will be the social networking features that helped make LinkedIn a success in the U.S. and elsewhere. China’s Internet is monitored by a system of censorship filters called “the Great Firewall,” making it difficult for free expression platforms to do business there. Continue reading Microsoft Closing LinkedIn in China, Retooling for Jobs-Only

China Boosts Control by Buying Stakes in ByteDance, Weibo

China is strengthening its control of Internet content companies by increasing regulatory scrutiny, buying stakes in companies and filling board seats among other actions. Most recently, a state-backed company purchased 1 percent of the shares of ByteDance, parent company of TikTok, which gave it the right to appoint a director to its board. Weibo also sold a 1 percent stake to a state investor and gave it a seat on its board of directors. China has discussed owning shares of social media companies since 2016. Continue reading China Boosts Control by Buying Stakes in ByteDance, Weibo

China Signals Tighter Big Tech Regulation with Alibaba Fine

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) fined e-commerce giant Alibaba $2.8 billion for antitrust violations, a rebuke to its founder, high-profile tycoon Jack Ma. Investigation into whether Alibaba prevented sellers from offering their goods on other e-commerce platforms began in December. The official Communist Party newspaper called monopolies “the great enemy of the market economy” and said regulation was “a kind of love and care.” In 2015, China fined Qualcomm $975 million, also for antitrust violations. Continue reading China Signals Tighter Big Tech Regulation with Alibaba Fine

China Is First Country to Debut a National Digital Currency

China has begun issuing a digital currency from by its central bank, a move that will give that country’s government new ways to monitor its economy and people. The digital yuan will be aimed at international uses and not linked to the global financial system. At the People’s Bank of China, director of the Digital Currency Research Institute Mu Changchun noted that, “in order to protect our currency sovereignty and legal currency status, we have to plan ahead.” China is the first to issue a national digital currency. Continue reading China Is First Country to Debut a National Digital Currency

Chinese Regulators Rein in Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Group

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has long been celebrated in China for his successful entrepreneurship that has made him that country’s richest individual. More recently, however, his troubles with the Chinese government led that country’s media to dub him an “evil capitalist” and “bloodsucking ghost.” Last week, China opened an antitrust probe into Alibaba and is investigating Ant Group, a fintech company Ma spun out of Alibaba. After nixing that company’s IPO, China is now telling Ma to fix its many perceived flaws. Continue reading Chinese Regulators Rein in Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Group

Government Extends Deadline for ByteDance to Divest TikTok

Although ByteDance’s TikTok missed a Thursday deadline to complete its deal with Oracle and Walmart, the Commerce Department did not enforce the shutdown order, citing last month’s preliminary injunction from U.S. District Judge Wendy Beetlestone. That suit was brought by three TikTok stars who charged that the government exceeded its authority by threatening the “robust exchange of informational materials.” President Trump initiated the effort to get TikTok to divest itself of its U.S. operations based on national security concerns. Now the deadline has been extended to November 27. Continue reading Government Extends Deadline for ByteDance to Divest TikTok

Biden Administration to Face China’s Push for Tech Hegemony

When president-elect Joe Biden takes office, one challenge he will face is China’s aim to dominate technology. President Trump’s efforts to limit China’s abilities have only partially succeeded and, in fact, may have even accelerated the nation’s development in AI, 5G, biotechnology and chipmaking. China is already ahead of the United States in 5G. Experts say the U.S. should more forcefully confront China on issues including market access, forced technology transfers and human rights. Continue reading Biden Administration to Face China’s Push for Tech Hegemony