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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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Huawei Offers Contactless Digital Payment Solutions

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HUAWEI now offers safe and contactless digital payment options with the launch of Mondia Pay on HUAWEI Mobile Services (HMS) in the MEA Region

Huawei, in cooperation with digital payment entity, Mondia Pay, now offers Direct Carrier Billing service (DCB), for seamless, contactless payments for users in the MEA region through HUAWEI Mobile Services (HMS).

Mondia Pay is a leader in the digital payment space and provides a simple, fast and secure way for consumers to pay for services using their mobile phone. Huawei has been working closely with Mondia Pay, the MEA region’s top digital payments fintech company, as part of its commitment to supporting developers in the MEA region. This strategic partnership will allow for increased DCB coverage and IAP (In-App Purchase) kit capabilities for global developers.

As a result, Huawei and smartphone HONOR users in almost 20 countries including, Egypt, South Africa, Tunisia, Nigeria, Tanzania, Madagascar, Liberia, and Botswana, will be able to make cashless payments securely without the need for bank cards by downloading the app from Huawei’s Application Store, AppGallery. In addition, Mondia Pay will also market Huawei’s games content in Egypt.

The number of mobile internet subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa has quadrupled since the start of 2010 (World Bank Data) and, for many consumers, it’s the only way they can get online. With low credit card penetration rates in most markets, contactless, online payment solutions can reach wider audiences looking to consume digital content.

“This new partnership with Huawei is an endorsement of Mondia Pay’s industry expertise and deep routed knowledge of Africa. Customers across the continent will benefit from our fully integrated digital payment technology to make frictionless payments in a fast, safe and secure manner. We also support the natural progression towards cashless societies, fast-tracked by current affairs such as COVID-19,” said Simon Rahmann, CEO Mondia Pay.

Mondia Pay is available on Huawei’s AppGallery as direct carrier billing and e-wallet services to facilitate online consumer payments. Huawei’s AppGallery allows users to explore the best local and global apps.

Adam Xiao, Managing Director, HMS and Consumer Cloud Service for Huawei Consumer Business Group MEA, said: “We welcome the opportunity to partner with Mondia Pay to provide our users across the MEA region with even more payment options. Mondia Pay allows for contactless payment without the need for bank cards in a safe and secure manner that protects the privacy of users. This partnership is part of Huawei’s ongoing commitment to make it easier for local and global developers to offer their services to millions more people in the MEA region.”

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China, Japan and US Controls 60% of Global Installations of Industrial Robots

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Global Installations of Industrial Robots are Controlled by China, Japan and US Controls

Data presented by Buy Shares indicates that China, Japan, and the United States cumulatively control about 58.71% of the global industrial robot installations. As of September 2020, there were 381,000 units of industrial robots globally.

Pandemic to Spur Industrial Robots Market

From the data, China accounts for the largest share at 140,500 units, followed by Japan at 49,900 units. The U.S is third with 33,300 installed units.  South Korea has the fourth-highest installation at 27,900 units while Germany closes the fifth spot with 20,500 million installations. The Czech Republic has the least industrial robot installation at 2,600.

Several factors are contributing to the growth if the industrial robot market installation. According to the research report:

“The industrial robot market is also expected to grow following the unprecedented situation as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. In the course of the crisis, many factories had to protect their employees by shutting down some production plants. The pandemic creates a potential market for the industry as it is part of preparing for any similar pandemic in the future.”

The research also overviewed the annual installation of industrial robots worldwide between 2009 and 2019. Between the ten years, the installation grew by 535%.  In 2009, the figure stood at 60,000 while last year the number was 381,000. By 2010, the number had doubled to 121,000.

Notably, in 2018, the installation stood at 422,000 before dropping by 9.7% to 381,000 in 2019. The drop was the first in seven years.

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Orange Launches Sanza Touch Smartphone, Moves to Deepen Mobile Internet Access in Africa With Google Support

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Orange Partner Google to Deepen Mobile Internet Access in Africa

Orange S.A., a French multinational telecommunications corporation, has said it is launching a new affordable smartphone called Sanza touch to improve internet access in Africa.

According to the telecommunication giant, cost has always been a barrier to smartphone adoption in Africa. It said the average cost of an entry-level smartphone is more than 60 percent of average monthly income, making smartphones largely inaccessible for the majority of African people.

Therefore, as part of the GSMA Thrive Africa 2020, Orange will be introducing Sanza touch, an exclusive Orange smartphone and the most affordable 4G Android (Go edition) device globally.

The device will retail at US$30 or around N11,500 in Nigeria.

The company said the affordable price “is intended to make it the most accessible on the market with the goal of driving digital inclusion and providing more people access to mobile internet.”

Sanza touch is a 4G smartphone with a 4″ screen, 8GB memory and a 1750mAh battery, offering over 4 hours battery life while streaming videos. Users can use the Orange app collection (My Orange, Orange Money and Livescreen to stay informed on the latest news trends) and access the most popular apps including YouTube Go, Google Go, Facebook and WhatsApp.

The CEO of Orange Middle East and Africa, Alioune Ndiaye, said: “Orange wants to strongly accelerate access to connectivity on the African continent. One of the barriers to Internet use is the price and ease of use of most smartphones.

“The partnership with Google to offer the Sanza touch smartphone for sale will enable us to solve this problem thanks to its affordable price and advanced functionalities. While 90% of the world’s population is now covered by mobile broadband, 3.3 billion people who live in areas covered by mobile broadband remain unconnected for reasons such as affordability, low levels of literacy and digital skills.”

Mariam Abdullahi, the Director, Platform Partnerships, Android and Play Africa for Google added that “Our mission at Google has always been to Organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible to everyone.”

“We deliver this mission through the building and providing our products and services via key partnerships like this one with Orange. We are excited about the endless possibilities this Sanza touch smartphone will present in learning, economic opportunities and digital accessibility.

“The Goal of our Android devices, including this first-of-its kind highly affordable Android (Go edition) device is to bring the power of computing equitably to all. We can only achieve this mission if everyone is able to access devices at affordable price points to use in their daily lives and have access to the benefits presented by the digital world.

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