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US: TikTok is a potential security threat

TikTok: No, we’re not

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For more than a year, the American government has tormented Huawei for allegedly colluding with the Chinese government. Months later, the Chinese smartphone maker is still broiling in hot water with authorities all over the world. After doing much damage to Huawei, the US is setting its sights on another potentially dangerous company.

In an official letter, two American senators have publicly denounced the popular short-form video social network, TikTok. Much like the government’s argument against Huawei, the platform can allegedly accede to a Chinese agenda, risking American cybersecurity.

TikTok is developed by the Beijing-based developer, ByteDance. In the past, the developer created Doujin, a similar platform but tailored for a Chinese audience. To cater for an international audience, ByteDance created TikTok, today’s video sensation.

Lately, TikTok implemented controversial rules against progressive content. These include censors against pro-LGBT and pro-democracy content. The latter rule censors any content mentioning Hong Kong, Taiwan, Tibet, and Tiananmen Square.

The recent letter references this latest controversy, among other things. Additionally, the letter ponders on the platform’s potential influence on future elections.

Currently, TikTok keeps its data on American soil. However, both senators argue that the company must still answer China’s calls. The Chinese government currently has provisions that require Chinese companies to serve the country when called.

In response, TikTok has issued a statement in defense against the allegations. According to a blog post, the company is still dedicated on user privacy. The post reiterates their stringent measures against counterintelligence: keeping their staff and servers in California and Singapore.

Regardless, if the US agrees to the senators’ letter, TikTok is in real trouble.

SEE ALSO: Mark Zuckerberg admits TikTok is bigger than Instagram

Enterprise

Huawei gets some of its suppliers back

It’s finally starting

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For Huawei watchers, the critical question is “when.” When will the US stop bullying China’s biggest smartphone brand? When will we see an Android-based Huawei flagship again? When will we see an end to the Chinese-American trade war?

Today, we finally get an answer to one of these questions. Particularly, the US government has started to roll out application responses to operating license requests. Since the government has announced a total ban against Huawei’s operation in the States, American companies have applied for exceptions to the rule. Besides Huawei’s continued survival, an operating license will ensure the continued business of a valued customer. Unfortunately, nothing was heard about the applications for a while.

Now, the government has finally started responding to several applications. According to reports, “roughly 300 license requests” have been processed. The figure estimates around half of the total applications received by the US government. Further, half of the responded requests are approvals.

Unfortunately, both sides remain mum regarding which companies received an approval. If anything, further reports have hinted at priority for the semiconductor industry. However, both hardware and software industries already have responses.

Neither Huawei nor Google have commented. For now, we don’t know if the approvals include the most awaited one, Google’s Android OS.

At the very least, we are finally seeing progress on Trump’s crackdown against Huawei. Additionally, the government has also granted a new three-month extension on Huawei’s operating license in the US.

SEE ALSO: Huawei’s foldable Mate X is finally on sale

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Airbnb partners with the Olympics in 9-year deal

Just in time for Tokyo 2020

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Airbnb and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has signed a new deal to support five Olympics and Paralympics for the next nine years, making the platform a Worldwide Olympic Partner. Apart from the 2020 Games in Tokyo, the partnership covers Beijing 2022, Paris 2024, Milan 2026, and Los Angeles 2028.

According to the IOC, the joint effort will be “in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals to provide travel options that are economically empowering, socially inclusive, and environmentally sustainable.”

The partnership hopes to minimize construction of new infrastructure for host cities to accommodate not just athletes, staff, and workers, but the surge of tourists as well. This also means generating extra income for new and existing hosts in the local communities during the Games.

IOC President Thomas Bach said that the partnership underpins their strategy to ensure that staging the Olympic Games leaves a legacy for the host community.

Airbnb is also launching a new category of Experiences to be hosted by Olympians themselves. These activities can help provide financial support for athletes while they train, as well as career opportunities even after competing.

Airbnb as a more sustainable option

Airbnb has previously supported Rio 2016 and PyeongChang 2018 as a domestic sponsor. A recent World Economic Forum study found that in Rio, the additional capacity provided through Airbnb was equivalent to 257 hotels. This saved the city unnecessary construction and carbon emissions, while also providing approximately US$ 30 million in direct revenue for hosts. It also generated an estimated total economic activity of US$ 100 million in three weeks.

Similarly, during the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games PyeongChang last year, Airbnb hosts earned approximately US$ 2.3 million collectively by providing accommodation to 15,000 visitors who would have required 46 hotels.

Most recently, Airbnb hosts across Japan welcomed more than 650,000 travellers during the Rugby World Cup, and earned more than US$ 70 million collectively.

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Enterprise

Lazada’s 11.11 concludes with record-breaking sales

E-commerce is growing in the Philippines

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Lazada just had a blast with its 11.11 sale. This year’s sale sets new records for the online store company, with over 11 million deals from local and international brands sold to customers in the Philippines.

Lazada tallied one million sold items within the first hour of the 11.11 sale. One million users also shopped for various items on the website. By the end of the sale event, Lazada shoppers spent a total of 205 million minutes shopping on Lazada. That’s equivalent to watching a marathon of harry Potter for 187,000 times. Filipinos also proved to be shopping-savvy, collecting up to PhP 170 million worth of vouchers during the sale. One person’s shopping cart even amounted to a whopping PhP 1.2 million.

Bigger league of millionaire sellers

Dealers and sellers also set a record for increasing the membership of Lazada’s millionaire-seller league. The league, where sellers past a million peso sale mark earn membership, gained 1,140 new sellers because of the 11.11 sale.

Top brands in the 11.11 sale include Xiaomi for mobile category; CooCaa for home appliance; Pampers for mother’s care; Hydro Flask for general merchandise; Maybelline for health and beauty; and American Tourister for fashion.

This year’s 11.11 sale proves that e-commerce is booming the country. Globally, e-commerce is growing steadily, with China’s Singles’ Day event this year crossing the US$ 38 billion mark for total sales.

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