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Tech

TikTok prepares advertisers for possible app ban

TikTok is preparing advertisers for a possible ban of its app in the United States, ad buyers said, offering refunds for ad campaigns that are unable to run.

The short-form video app’s advertising business is still nascent. TikTok’s anticipated $1 billion (766 million pounds) in 2020 revenue is a small fraction of its Chinese owner ByteDance’s overall sales. But TikTok has become a popular place for brands that aim to reach the app’s young tastemakers, who flock to it for lip-syncing, dancing and comedy sketch videos.

TikTok said it will continue to honor planned ad campaigns, refund any that it can’t fulfill and would also work with major influencers to migrate to other platforms in the event of a ban, said Rob Pearsall, senior vice president of biddable media at ad agency Havas Media, referencing a memo the agency received from TikTok Friday morning.

President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Thursday that would ban U.S. transactions with TikTok and WeChat, the Chinese-owned messaging app, beginning Sept. 15.

“We’re committed to being a trusted partner to brands, agencies and marketers as we build TikTok for the long term. TikTok will be here for many years to come,” Blake Chandlee, TikTok’s vice president for global business solutions, said in a statement.

Some advertisers are forming contingency plans and considering other apps to move their marketing budgets.

Photo-messaging app Snapchat is one option for advertisers that need to reach TikTok’s younger audience, said Meghan Rao, account director at ad agency HYFN, a unit of Nexstar Digital, which counts New Balance and Macy’s as clients.

Contingency planning for one client that planned to advertise on TikTok is expected to begin on Monday, Rao said. She declined to name the brand.

One popular form of advertising on TikTok is a hashtag challenge, where users post videos about a brand’s product. Since sponsoring a hashtag takes advance planning, Havas and its clients are likely to put a pause on those ads, given the looming Sept. 15 deadline, Pearsall said.

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Brands have also started asking whether they should be on TikTok rivals such as Triller and Byte, which has seen downloads jump in recent days, said an ad agency director who declined to be named.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Categories
Tech

Indonesia imposes 10% VAT on Facebook, Disney, Tiktok

JAKARTA Indonesia has added more technology companies that will be obligated to apply 10% value-added tax on sales to Indonesian customers to include Facebook, Disney and TikTok, its tax office said on Friday.

Southeast Asia’s biggest country, which has a population of nearly 270 million people, announced last month a 10% VAT on sales by technology firms including Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Google, as spending patterns shift with increased remote working amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit government finances.

The additional companies announced on Friday include three units of Facebook, Tiktok Pte Ltd, Apple Distribution International Ltd, The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) Pte Ltd, and more of Amazon’s subsidiaries, including its audiobook unit Audible and its voice assistant Alexa.

Facebook said the company would comply.

“In Indonesia, we will start collecting VAT as of September 1, 2020, as required under Indonesia regulations,” a Facebook spokeswoman said.

The other companies did not immediately respond to requests to comment.

Under the rules, non-resident foreign firms which sell digital products and services in Indonesia worth at least 600 million rupiah ($41,040) a year, or which generate yearly traffic from at least 12,000 users, must pay the 10% VAT.

Tech giants are increasingly facing tougher fiscal regimes in Southeast Asia, including in Thailand and the Philippines, where legislation pending house approval proposes VAT of 7% and 12% respectively.

The Indonesian tax office in a statement said it continues to identify other technology companies to inform them of the digital tax rules, adding the number of firms subject to the VAT would likely increase.

The VAT rules aim to create a level playing field between foreign and local companies and between conventional and digital businesses, it said.

Indonesia expects a 13% annual drop in state revenue this year as the coronavirus disrupts business activity.

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Categories
Tech

Xiaomi Is Working On MIUI Update Which Will Remove All Apps Blocked By The Indian Government

Xiaomi has confirmed that it is working on a new version of the MIUI software for its smartphone line-up, which will remove all the apps that have been blocked by the Government of India. Over the past few weeks, India has blocked multiple Chinese apps owned and developed by Chinese tech companies, over fears about user data privacy and security. The banned apps include popular social media app TikTok, instant messaging app WeChat, as well as AliExpress, UCBrowser and Shein, to name a few. Xiaomi India also confirms that all data of Indian users is stored on servers based in India, and no data is shared with anyone outside the geographical boundaries of India.

“We want to clarify that none of the apps blocked by the Indian Government are available for access on any Xiaomi phones launched in India,” says Xiaomi India in an official statement. They also confirm that they are developing an updated version of MIUI for all Xiaomi phones sold in India which will not pre-install any apps that have been blocked by the Government of India. This update will be rolled out over the next few weeks to all phones in a phased manner.

Xiaomi India also confirms the data localization compliance which requires all data of Indian users to be saved and stored on servers within the geographical boundaries of India. “Even before it was mandated, we pioneered data localization for all Xiaomi India apps and users. Since 2018, 100% of data from Indian users in stored on servers located in India and none of this data is shared with anyone outside of India,” says the company.

Xiaomi is also addressing concerns that the MIUI Cleaner app is in no way related to the Clean Master app that has been blocked in India. Xiaomi says the MIUI cleaner app is only using definitions that are vital to the functioning of the app, and to eliminate the confusion, will be removing those definitions from the MIUI Cleaner app. Users can update the app on their smartphones, or the update will be rolled out as part of the next MIUI version as well.


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Categories
Tech

Indonesia imposes 10% VAT on Facebook, Disney, Tiktok – tax office

JAKARTA Indonesia has added more techology companies that will be obligated to apply 10% value-added tax on sales to Indonesian customers to include Facebook, Disney and TikTok, the tax office said in a statement on Friday.

Southeast Asia’s biggest country, which has a population of nearly 270 million people, announced last month it will impose 10% VAT on sales by technology firms including Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Google, as spending patterns shift with increased remote working amid the pandemic, which has hit government finances.

The additional companies announced on Friday include three units of Facebook, Tiktok Pte Ltd, Apple Distribution International Ltd, The Walt Disney Company (Southeast Asia) Pte Ltd, and more of Amazon’s subsidiaries, including its audiobook unit Audible and its voice assistant Alexa.

The companies did not not immediately respond to requests to comment.

Under Indonesia’s rules, non-resident foreign firms which sell digital products and services in Indonesia worth at least 600 million rupiah ($41,039.67) a year or which generate yearly traffic from at least 12,000 users will be required to pay the 10% VAT.

Indonesia expects to record a 13% annual drop in state revenue this year as the coronavirus pandemic disrupts business activity.

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Categories
Tech

Trump issues bans on China's TikTok, WeChat, stoking tension with Beijing

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday unveiled sweeping bans on U.S. transactions with China’s ByteDance, owner of video-sharing app TikTok, and Tencent, operator of messenger app WeChat, in a major escalation of tensions with Beijing.

The executive orders, which go into effect in 45 days, come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called TikTok and WeChat “significant threats.”

The hugely popular Tiktok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers and the administration over national security concerns surrounding data collection, amid growing distrust between Washington and Beijing.

On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded efforts on a program dubbed “Clean Network” to prevent various Chinese apps as well as Chinese telecoms firms from accessing sensitive information on U.S. citizens and businesses.

James Lewis, a technology expert with Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the orders appeared coordinated with Pompeo’s announcement.

“This is the rupture in the digital world between the U.S. and China,” he said. “Absolutely, China will retaliate.”

“On TikTok, Trump is clearly putting pressure on Bytedance to close the deal,” Lewis said.

TikTok has 100 million users in the United States. While WeChat is not popular in the country, the app, which has over 1 billion users, is ubiquitous in China. It is also widely used by expat Chinese as a main platform for communications with family and friends as well as a medium for various other services such as games and e-commerce.

WeChat and TikTok were among 59 mostly Chinese apps outlawed in India in June for threatening the country’s “sovereignty and integrity.”

Operator Tencent is China’s second most-valuable company after Alibaba at $686 billion. It is also China’s biggest video game company and earlier this summer opened California-based studio.

Its shares fell nearly 10% in Hong Kong after Trump’s order. The yuan, which is sensitive to Sino-U.S. relations, lost 0.4%.

Tencent and ByteDance declined to comment.

SWEEPING POWER

Trump issued the orders under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, a law that grants the administration sweeping power to bar U.S. firms or citizens from trading or conducting financial transactions with sanctioned parties.

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross will identify transactions covered by the prohibition after the orders take effect in mid-September.

The development comes soon after the U.S. ordered China to vacate its consulate in Houston, Texas, followed by China’s order requiring the United States to vacate its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

But tension has been simmering between the two powers for months, with the United States taking issue with China’s handling of the novel coronavirus outbreak and moves to curb freedoms in Hong Kong.

Trump said this week he would support the sale of TikTok’s U.S. operations to Microsoft Corp if the U.S. government got a “substantial portion” of the sales price. He nevertheless said he will ban the service in the United States on Sept. 15, though some Republicans have raised concerns about the political fallout of banning the popular app.

The app may be used for disinformation campaigns that benefit the Chinese Communist Party, and the United States “must take aggressive action against the owners of TikTok to protect our national security,” Trump said in one order.

In the other, Trump said WeChat “automatically captures vast swaths of information from its users. This data collection threatens to allow the Chinese Communist Party access to Americans’ personal and proprietary information.”

The order would effectively ban WeChat in the United States in 45 days by barring “to the extent permitted under applicable law, any transaction that is related to WeChat by any person, or with respect to any property, subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, with Tencent Holdings Ltd.”

Late on Thursday some China watchers in Washington were already questioning the logic behind the orders.

The order “calls TikTok a national security threat,” said Derek Scissors, an expert on Sino-U.S. economic relations at the American Enterprise Institute think tank. “Either we’ve missed the threat for three years or it just became one and yet we are waiting 45 days.”

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(Additional Reporting by Mohammad Zargham, Echo Wang, Nandita Bose and David Shepardson; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing)

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Categories
Tech

U.S.-listed Chinese stocks fall as Trump takes aim at WeChat, TikTok

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese firms fell on Friday, a day after President Donald Trump unveiled bans on U.S. transactions with the China-based owners of messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok, escalating tensions between the two countries.

The executive orders will be effective in 45 days and come after the Trump administration said this week it was stepping up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks.

Tencent Holdings Ltd owns the popular WeChat app, while ByteDance is the owner of TikTok.

Shares of other U.S.-listed Chinese companies backed by Tencent, including JD.com , Huya Inc and Nio Inc fell between 0.5% and 3.8%

“(There’s) some very specific companies and policies mentioned and that appears to be a proverbial line in the sand,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Minneapolis.

China’s foreign ministry took a hard stance against the executive orders, saying it would defend the interests of Chinese businesses and warned that the United States would have to “bear the consequences” of its action.

Tencent has invested in several Chinese, American and European companies, including Tesla Inc and “Call of Duty” creator Activision Blizzard Inc .

TIKTOK ON THE CLOCK

TikTok has come under fire from U.S. lawmakers over national security concerns surrounding data collection.

“Clearly, this is a major step up of tensions between the U.S. and China which started with Huawei a few years ago and has now engulfed consumer apps,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said.

The popular video app said it was “shocked” by the executive order and added that it would seek all courses of action to “ensure that the rule of law is not discarded.”

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Reuters on Sunday reported that Trump has given Microsoft Corp 45 days to complete the purchase of TikTok’s U.S. operations.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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Categories
Tech

Microsoft is Reportedly Aiming to Acquire TikTok's Entire Global Business, Including in India

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Image for Representation
(Photo: Associated Press)

Microsoft is officially seeking to buy the TikTok operations in North America, Australia and New Zealand for a reported figure of $50 billion.

  • IANS
  • Last Updated: August 7, 2020, 6:20 PM IST

Not just the US operations, Microsoft is aiming to acquire the global business of Chinese short-video making app TikTok, including in India where the app is banned, The Financial Times reported on Thursday. Microsoft is officially seeking to buy the TikTok operations in North America, Australia and New Zealand for a “reported figure of $50 billion”.

However, according to the FT report, the Satya Nadella-run tech giant is aiming to buy the entire business of TikTok, including in India where it has been banned along with 58 other Chinese apps. Microsoft “is exploring whether it can add regions including India and Europe to the deal”.

Microsoft has been involved in the Chinese tech world for far longer than many rivals. “Microsoft has mentored and trained the talent behind China’s consumer tech explosion. That brought Bytedance founder Zhang Yiming to approach them once President Trump threatened to ban TikTok if it wasn’t sold to an American company,” tweeted Yuan Yang, Beijing deputy bureau chief and tech correspondent of the Financial Times.

US President Donald Trump has said that the country should get a large percentage of the proceeds if part of the short video-sharing platform TikTok’s business is bought by an American firm. Microsoft has confirmed that it wanted to proceed with talks to purchase the US business of TikTok. The discussion between the Microsoft CEO and the US President led to setting a date for closure of the deal around September 15.

If such a deal does not materialise, TikTok will be out of business in the US by that time, Trump said. “I said a very substantial portion of that price is going to have to come into the Treasury of the United States because we’re making it possible for this deal to happen,” Trump said in a meeting with US tech workers this week.

Meanwhile, facing threats of a US ban and smears by rival Facebook, ByteDance, owner of the video platform, said that in the course of becoming a global firm, it has “faced all kinds of complex and unimaginable difficulties, including the tense international political environment, collision and conflict of different cultures and plagiarism and smears from competitor Facebook”.

TikTok has nearly 80 million monthly active users in the US. Many users have grown to rely on the platform for building a career in social media and earn a living. The firm’s US job growth has already nearly tripled this year, surging from almost 500 employees on January 1 to just under 1,400.

Last month, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) directed the 59 banned Chinese apps to strictly adhere to the orders or face serious action in case of violation. The government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community in June over national security concerns amid the border tussle at Ladakh which also led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese PLA troops.

“These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” MeitY had said in a statement.


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Categories
Tech

Australia, Indonesia, Philippines Say 'No Reason' to Ban TikTok, Unlike India, USA

TikTok, the much-debated social media platform by Bytedance, is seemingly not being looked upon as a privacy threat uniformly across the world, even as India has enforced a ban on the app, and USA looks set to follow suit. Isolated reports from around the world state that nations such as Australia, Indonesia and Philippines see “no reason” or “evidence” so far to ban services of TikTok in the respective countries. The reports come particularly in light of a potential ban of TikTok in USA, which now sees a potential American takeover of the app on the cards.

A Reuters report stated that earlier this week, Australia prime minister Scott Morrison said at the virtually held Aspen Security Forum that authorities will “obviously” continue to keep a close eye on the practices of the app. He further added, “There’s nothing at this point that would suggest to us that security interests are being compromised or Australian citizens are being compromised. But people should know that the line connects right back to China and they should exercise their own judgment about whether they should participate in those things or not.”

Earlier this month, Johnny G. Plate, Indonesia’s minister of communication and information technology, said to local publication Antara that the country’s government will not block access to TikTok just because other nations are either doing so already, or planning to. Plate affirmed that TikTok will certainly face consequences if their practices are found to not be in accordance with the law of the land, indicating that TikTok has so far not been flagged for breaking Indonesia’s existing data protection laws set for technology companies to comply with.

Similar sentiments surfaced earlier this week from the Philippines as well. Harry Roque, spokesperson to Philippines president Rodrigo Duterte, said to local publication ABS-CBN News that the country’s government sees “no reason” to ban TikTok, before adding a footnote against apparent allegations of Philippines’ president Duterte suppressing free speech. According to the report, TikTok is used even by government officials, including Roque himself and Philippines’ cabinet secretary, Karlo Nograles.

On June 29, India decided to ban a total of 59 apps with ties to China, under apparent intelligence reports that numerous software providers based in China have close ties with the Chinese Communist Party government, which in turn may use its stronghold to facilitate acts of digital espionage against foreign nations. TikTok, which was widely popular in India until then, has been banned in the country since then, with millions of its users pushed towards using alternatives such as the India-based ShareChat and Roposo. The Chinese government has since denied all allegations – in similar fashion as it did when USA part-banned Huawei from the country and sparked off global enquiries and bans on the Chinese electronics giant.

In recent days, talks have emerged about American technology giant Microsoft being potentially poised to take over the American operations of TikTok. These talks seemingly evolved to one level higher, with a Financial Times report from August 6 stating that Microsoft may be considering an acquisition of all of TikTok’s global operations from Bytedance, although particulars of such a deal are still in the shadows. At the moment, it is not clear if this would also include TikTok’s China operations. Bytedance founder and CEO Zhang Yiming has faced criticism from China for succumbing to pressure from USA, but is seemingly stuck in a cross-current at the moment.

In Australia, TikTok recently published a full-page newspaper advertisement, urging the nation and its users to not play “political football” with the hugely popular app. Before being banned, India was TikTok’s largest foreign market with over 300 million active users. It now remains to be seen how the future of the app progresses, for the coming weeks are certainly going to reveal more details about the app’s potential takeover by Microsoft, or any other details that may be in development as well.


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Tech

China opposes U.S. orders against TikTok, WeChat, to defend interests

BEIJING China’s foreign ministry firmly opposes executive orders announced by U.S. President Donald Trump banning U.S. transactions with the Chinese owners of messaging app WeChat and video-sharing app TikTok, Beijing said on Friday.

Beijing will defend the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese businesses and the United States would have to bear the consequences of its actions, ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told reporters during a daily briefing, without giving details.

“The U.S. is using national security as an excuse and using state power to oppress non-American businesses. That’s just a hegemonic practice. China is firmly opposed to that,” he said.

The U.S. executive orders, which will be effective in 45 days, come after the Trump administration announced its efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks and called WeChat, controlled by Tencent Holdings Ltd, and ByteDance’s TikTok “significant threats.”

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Wang said that the United States was sacrificing the interests of users and companies and engaging in political manipulation and oppression, adding that it “will only lose its moral high ground with a damaged image and a deficit of trust”.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor


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China opposes U.S. orders against TikTok, WeChat, to defend interests => Sushant Death Probe: Rhea & Family Being Quizzed By ED | CNN News18
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Categories
Tech

TikTok Threatens Legal Action in US Over Trump Order, to Pursue ‘All Remedies Available’

US President Donald Trump (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

US President Donald Trump (REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

TikTok threatened to take legal action in US courts against Donald Trump’s executive order banning anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with the company’s owner ByteDance.

  • AFP
  • Last Updated: August 7, 2020, 2:35 PM IST

Video-sharing app TikTok on Friday threatened to take legal action in US courts against Donald Trump’s executive order banning anyone under US jurisdiction from doing business with the company’s owner ByteDance.

“We will pursue all remedies available to us in order to ensure that the rule of law is not discarded and that our company and our users are treated fairly — if not by the Administration, then by the US courts,” TikTok said in a statement.



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