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Senator Rubio Urges Trump to Scrap TikTok-Oracle Deal if ByteDance Ties Remain

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Marco Rubio and five other Republican senators called on the Trump administration to reject a proposed deal for Oracle Corp ORCL.N to become a “trusted technology provider” for popular social media platform TikTok’s U.S. operations, if ties to Chinese owner ByteDance remain.

Rubio, the first senator to call on the administration to investigate TikTok over censorship concerns, said in the letter to President Donald Trump that “serious questions” remained about Oracle’s role, the technology it would provide to ByteDance, and the future of the application’s algorithm.

“We remain opposed to any deal that would allow China-based or controlled entities to retain, control or modify the code or algorithms that operate any U.S.-based version of TikTok,” Rubio wrote in the letter, dated Wednesday.

“We are heartened that this deal still requires government approval, and if reports indicating this proposed deal will retain links to ByteDance or other Chinese-controlled entities, we strongly urge the administration to reject such a proposal on national security grounds,” he added.

Late on Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz raised concerns about a deal, saying in a separate letter the Oracle ByteDance deal “failed to meet the intent of the president’s executive orders” and “raises serious national security concerns.”

The Trump administration will make a decision soon on Oracle becoming a trusted technology provider, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Wednesday.

The Rubio letter, also signed by Senators Thom Tillis, Rick Scott, John Cornyn, Roger Wicker and Dan Sullivan, is part of a growing chorus of lawmakers raising questions about the deal.

On Monday, Republican Senator Josh Hawley sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who heads a national security panel reviewing the proposal, calling for the deal to be scuttled, if it does not allow for the “full emancipation of TikTok software from potential Chinese Communist Part control.”

It is unclear what Trump will do. White House adviser Jared Kushner on Tuesday said the White House is reviewing Oracle’s bid and a senior administration official said a decision had not yet been made.

Trump had previously made clear he sought a full-scale sale of the app to an American technology company, amid concerns among national security officials that ByteDance could provide American user data to the Chinese government. But Trump may not want to alienate 100 million-odd American TikTok users weeks before a hotly contested presidential election.

Trump has also said he is a fan of Oracle’s co-founder and Chairman Larry Ellison, one of few tech executives to openly support the Republican president.

Meanwhile, China has updated its export control rules to give it a say over the transfer of technology, such as TikTok’s recommendation algorithm, to a foreign buyer. Chinese officials have said ByteDance should not be coerced by the United States into a deal.

Oracle announced on Monday it was part of a proposal submitted by ByteDance to the U.S. Treasury Department to serve as “trusted technology provider,” to ByteDance, providing no further details on the terms of the deal.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Smart City Startups to Generate $110.7B in Revenue by 2025, a Trifold Increase in Five Years

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Smart City Startup - Investors King

Smart city startups offer innovative solutions for urban challenges, including public and cybersecurity threats, traffic congestion, energy management, and e-governance. Over the years, the revenues of these companies increased significantly and are expected to continue growing in the future.

According to data presented by Aksje Bloggen, smart city startups worldwide are expected to generate $110.7bn in revenue by 2025, a trifold increase in five years.

Asian, European and American Smart City Startups to Witness Three-Digit Revenue Growth

Smart cities aim to cater to the growing urban population while improving on safety, sustainability, and mobility. These initiatives are backed by new technologies like artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things using sensors and data collection to gather large amounts of public data available for researchers and startups to work with.

Last year, smart city startups worldwide generated $32.3bn in revenue, revealed the Statista survey. This figure includes all revenue that companies generated by offering technologies and products that use information, data and connectivity technologies to create more value within the public city environment.

In 2021, smart city startups’ revenues are expected to grow by $6.7bn and then surge by a staggering $71.7bn in the next four years.

Analyzed by regions, Asian smart city startups are expected to generate $14.9bn or 38% of total revenues in 2021. By 2025, this figure is forecast to soar by 232% to $49.6bn.

European smart city startups are expected to witness a 166% revenue growth in this period, rising from $8.7bn in 2021 to $23.16bn in 2025.

North American startups follow with $12.3bn in revenue in 2021. Statista data show this value is set to grow by 152% and reach $31.2bn in the next four years.

Smart Utilities the Largest Revenue Stream, Environmental Solutions to Witness the Biggest Growth

The Statista survey revealed that smart utilities generate the highest share of startup revenues in the smart city market. In 2021, these startups are expected to make $10.7bn or one-third of total revenues.

Smart utilities are companies in the electric, gas and water sectors that employ connected sensors across their grids to analyze operations and deliver services more efficiently. Most of them are heavy users of the IoT technology and the latest communications, software, computing, and mapping solutions. By 2025, the entire segment will grow by 180% and hit a $30bn value.

As the second-largest revenue stream, the mobility segment is set to reach a $9.4bn value this year. Statista predicts this figure to jump by nearly 190% to $27.2bn in the next four years.

Smart buildings are expected to witness a 172% revenue growth in this period, with the figure rising from $7.2bn in 2021 to $19.2bn in 2025.

However, startups delivering environmental solutions for smart cities are set to witness the most significant growth in the following years. Between 2021 and 2025, their revenues are expected to surge by 210% and hit $16.4bn globally.

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Uber Raises Tfare By 13 Percent In Lagos

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The economy option for ride-share giant company, Uber, popularly referred to as UberX, has been increased by 13 percent in Lagos State.

An electronic mail message from the ride-hailing firm to its drivers stated that the increment would start from May 11, 2021.

Uber said the increase was to ensure a reliable earning opportunity for driver-partners.

“At Uber, we remain committed to providing a reliable earning opportunity for driver-partners, as well as a reliable and affordable service for riders. With this in mind, starting 11th May 2021, we are increasing prices on UberX by about 13 percent,” the message read.

Earlier, Uber and Bolt drivers under the aegis of Professional E-hailing Drivers and Partners Association, declared a strike in April in Lagos, seeking an upward review of e-cab fares to reflect the current economic

They also wanted both companies to reduce the commission charged on rides from 25 percent to 10 percent.

National President of PEDPA, Mr. Idris Shonuga, had at a news conference in Lagos, said, “Instead of fixing a new and reasonable fare in line with inflation, the companies have recklessly continued to maintain the low fare, thereby, impoverishing hard-working young Nigerians who are diligently and lawfully trying to make a decent living.”

The e-cab operators also demanded adequate welfare package for drivers and compensation to the families of those that lost their lives or are permanently disabled in the line of duty.

The association said that more than 15 drivers had lost their lives, while some had been permanently disabled in accidents in the course of the service.

It also said more than 20 others have also lost their lives through kidnapping or killed by ritualists without any compensation from the operators.

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CEOs of Major Tech Companies Have Sold Over $6 Billion of Their Stocks in 2021

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Stocks - Investors King

Data acquired and calculated by Finbold indicates that CEOs of the five selected major tech firms have sold $6.36 billion worth of shares between January 1 and May 10, 2021.

Jeff Bezos leads, having offloaded AMZN shares worth $4.9 billion. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has sold $1.2 billion of his stock. Cumulatively, the two executives have offloaded $6.1 billion worth of shares from their respective companies.

Elsewhere, Nvidia CEO Huang Jen Hsun has sold $77.28 million worth of shares to rank third. Microsoft chief executive Nadella Satya has offloaded $65.44 million of MSFT stock, while Alphabet’s Pichai Sundar has sold $33.05 million. Among the top tech companies, only Tesla and Apple CEOs have not sold any of their stock in 2021.

Insider selling follows a surge in tech stocks

The highlighted companies have recorded a spike in the stock value over the past year, and the research report notes that:

“The sales come in the wake of tech sector stocks surging to new highs amid the coronavirus pandemic. In the pandemic, with wide-scale lockdowns, the companies run by the CEOs played a key role by offering services and products to help people manage the effects of the health crisis. The attention on these services drives the stock prices to record levels.”

Although insider trading is increasing in popularity, the activity is an essential indicator for investors to predict future price movement.

Overall, insider trades offer the overall market and investor outlook. When a single executive increases selling activity but others hold their shares, it does not call for alarm among investors.

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