• Bloomberg

    TikTok, Douyin’s In-App Revenue Surges Tenfold During Lockdowns

    (Bloomberg) -- ByteDance Ltd.’s millennial sensation TikTok and its Chinese twin app Douyin ranked top in the world among mobile apps for April revenue, according to Sensor Tower data that excludes games and advertising.Focusing narrowly on in-app purchases, TikTok and Douyin’s numbers for the month showed a tenfold increase to $78 million, propelling them ahead of more established names like YouTube, Tinder and Netflix, which rely more on existing subscriptions.The Chinese market, served by Douyin, contributed 86.6% of the app income, followed by the U.S. with 8.2%. In either version of the video-streaming app filled with dance videos and memes, users can purchase virtual currency to spend on supporting their favorite creators.Like many social media platforms, ByteDance is testing the waters of online commerce, even while it continues to rely on advertising as its main source of income. Emarketer expects that more than 75 million US social-network users aged 14 and older will make at least one purchase from a social channel in 2020, up 17.3% from 2019.In 2020’s first quarter, TikTok and Douyin generated 315 million downloads globally, up from 187 million a year earlier, said Sensor Tower, noting the positive influence of Covid-19 on the video-sharing apps’ popularity.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Apple to Start Reopening Stores in Japan This Week

    (Bloomberg) -- Apple Inc. will begin reopening its retail stores in Japan this week, one of its most important markets, after the stores had been shuttered for months due to Covid-19.Two locations -- the stores in Fukuoka and Nagoya Sakae -- will reopen on May 27, according to the company’s retail website. Reopening dates for the country’s eight other Apple stores have not yet been posted. In September, Apple opened its latest and largest outlet in Tokyo’s Marunouchi business district, moments away from the historic Tokyo Station and the Imperial Palace.Tokyo remains under an official state of emergency, though Japan’s Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said on Monday that the government’s advisory panel had approved a plan to lift the measure later that day, a week ahead of schedule.Read more: Japan’s Government Says Time Right to Lift Tokyo EmergencyApple has already reopened stores in Australia, Germany, Austria, South Korea, Switzerland and some stores in Italy and the U.S.In a statement confirming the Japan openings, Apple reiterated that stores will require temperature checks at the door, social distancing and the use of masks by customers and staff alike. This is in line with requirements among local Japanese retailers such as Montbell, which turns away customers without face masks.(Updates with Japanese government plans in third paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Citi investment bank boss predicts resurgence of offices

    The benefits to banks of having their staff work from home will “erode over time”, Citigroup's investment banking boss Paco Ybarra warned as he made the case for offices hollowed out by the coronavirus pandemic. “I am very cautious about this,” Mr Ybarra said in an interview.

  • Spotify, Amazon, Apple, and Barstool Sports are all betting big on podcasts
    Yahoo Finance

    Spotify, Amazon, Apple, and Barstool Sports are all betting big on podcasts

    Digital media companies have understood podcasts for years. Now tech giants are getting in late, but bringing big dollars to buy instant footholds.

  • AUD/USD and NZD/USD Fundamental Weekly Forecast – Risk Sentiment Controlling the Price Action
    FX Empire

    AUD/USD and NZD/USD Fundamental Weekly Forecast – Risk Sentiment Controlling the Price Action

    There’s not much anyone can do with the economic data until the virus is contained and the stimulus money starts to circulate through the economy.

  • Bloomberg

    Baidu Investors Fell Out of Love Years Ago

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Five years ago, Baidu Inc. founder and Chairman Robin Li sat down with Bloomberg News to explain how foreign investors were getting it wrong.Listed on the Nasdaq a decade earlier, shares of the Chinese search-engine provider had taken a beating over the prior year, and Li’s chief complaint was that Americans just didn’t appreciate the coming changes in its business. The trend in China was toward services like delivery and ride-hailing, as well as bookings for restaurants, beauty salons and doctors. This online-to-offline economy would eclipse search revenue, he predicted.Now, it seems that Li has lost patience. Baidu is looking into the possibility of delisting its shares from the Nasdaq and moving to an exchange closer to home, Reuters reported Friday, citing three people familiar with the matter. Baidu thinks it’s undervalued, according to the report.The backdrop to these discussions is rising hostility to U.S. investments in Chinese assets amid worsening relations between the two countries. The U.S. Senate passed a bill last week that would force companies to delist unless they can prove they’re not under the control of a foreign government.That sounds like a good excuse for Baidu to look for the exit. The reality is that investors lost patience with its management years ago. It was inevitable that the company would seek one day to list elsewhere, as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. has already done. Baidu’s U.S.-traded stock fell 15% between that September 2015 interview and the end of last year, before the pandemic hit. Over the same period, Alibaba climbed 248%.Li’s problem is that his company failed to grasp the transformation he was talking up half a decade ago. While Alibaba and Tencent Holdings Ltd. have successfully moved into new areas like payments and physical retail, and upstarts like Meituan Dianping and Pinduoduo Inc. now dominate delivery and social-commerce, Baidu has barely changed.Its core business still centers on advertising and accounts for 73% of revenue, which climbed just 2% last year. Investments into new realms like artificial intelligence and autonomous driving have yet to bear fruit. Its other major sales contributor, iQiyi Inc., a video-streaming platform that listed separately on Nasdaq in March 2018, continues to lose money.Around the time that Li complained foreign investors weren’t getting it, some of his contemporaries decided to move home where they felt Chinese investors had a better understanding and would reward them with higher valuations. Internet security company Qihoo 360 Technology Co. was taken private by a consortium that included Citic Group for $9.3 billion in December 2015. It relisted in Shanghai in 2018 via the purchase of elevator maker SJEC Corp., and now trades under the name 360 Security Technology Inc. Chinese investors have soured on 360 Security, pushing the company’s market value down by more than a third since February. There’s a warning for Li. Investors in China won’t assign a higher valuation to a returning company unless it has a convincing growth story to tell. Baidu was a pioneer when it listed on Nasdaq in 2005, paving the way for dozens of Chinese internet stocks to follow. Touted as the Google of China, it symbolized the potential of the sector for American investors. Those days are long gone: Baidu has been eclipsed as China’s technology darling by fasting-growing companies such as Alibaba and Tencent.The problem for Li isn’t that investors don’t understand his business. It may be that they understand it too well.  This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tim Culpan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering technology. He previously covered technology for Bloomberg News.Nisha Gopalan is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering deals and banking. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones as an editor and a reporter.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • 2 Stocks You Can Buy and Hold Forever
    Motley Fool

    2 Stocks You Can Buy and Hold Forever

    Netflix and Microsoft have demonstrated the ability to meet challenges while delivering explosive returns for investors.

  • Is Clean Energy Fuels Stock a Buy?
    Motley Fool

    Is Clean Energy Fuels Stock a Buy?

    When you think "clean energy," you probably picture rows and rows of solar panels, or maybe a wind farm or hydroelectric dam. Enter Clean Energy Fuels (NASDAQ: CLNE), which provides natural- and renewable-gas-based fuels for vehicles. The first thing you may be wondering is why anyone would even be interested in natural gas fuel when there's already plenty of oil-based diesel fuels around, not to mention green "biodiesel" options and zero-emission battery technology.

  • 4 Investing Themes for the 2020s
    Motley Fool

    4 Investing Themes for the 2020s

    In a world where everything is changing in a matter of weeks, talking about what could happen in the next 10-year stretch, when both the novel coronavirus and the economic lockdown meant to bring it to heel are still wreaking havoc, may seem premature. The ability to reach customers at home -- or wherever they happen to be -- is set to expand beyond the world of retail and entertainment, though.

  • 2 Dividend Stocks You Can Safely Hold for Decades
    Motley Fool

    2 Dividend Stocks You Can Safely Hold for Decades

    While it's not the end-all indicator of a company's staying power, a company that has consistently raised its dividend for decades is likely one that possesses a durable competitive advantage that allows it to grow its revenue and profits over time. Here are two stocks that have delivered a good balance of capital appreciation and rising dividend payments for more than 25 years. Walmart (NYSE: WMT) currently pays a dividend yield of 1.72%.

  • An 'unprecedented' effort to find a coronavirus vaccine has over 100 horses in the race
    Yahoo Finance

    An 'unprecedented' effort to find a coronavirus vaccine has over 100 horses in the race

    Vaccines are perceived as key to ending the restraints on work and life that have decimated the global economy, and returning to some sense of normalcy.

  • Here's Why You Might Not Want to Buy Stocks Right Now
    Motley Fool

    Here's Why You Might Not Want to Buy Stocks Right Now

    Since the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a massive stock market sell-off in late February and March, many investors have bought stocks with the expectation that they'd make nice gains when the market rebounded. Sure enough, the stock market began to rebound in late March. The major market indices have regained much of their losses.

  • Walmart vs Target: Who's the E-Commerce Winner During the Coronavirus Lockdown?
    Motley Fool

    Walmart vs Target: Who's the E-Commerce Winner During the Coronavirus Lockdown?

    Back in late March, I outlined the reasons why I purchased shares of Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Target (NYSE: TGT) as the economic lockdown to bring COVID-19 to heel got under way. Much has changed during the last two months, and migrating to e-commerce will continue to be a top priority for Walmart and Target as they play catch-up to Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN). The first quarter (February to April 2020 for Walmart and Target) was a banner moment for both big box stores.

  • Financial Times

    Letter: Musk’s antics lose Tesla one potential customer

    A recent study by Raj Chetty and his Harvard colleagues for the National Bureau of Economic Research suggests that much of the decline in economic activity in US states was already happening before states shut down. Under these circumstances, Mr Musk’s decision to throw a juvenile tantrum towards state and local public health officials — who according to preliminary studies were responsible for saving thousands of lives — seems amazingly selfish.

  • There's an Unorthodox Stimulus Proposal Gathering Steam on Social Media
    Motley Fool

    There's an Unorthodox Stimulus Proposal Gathering Steam on Social Media

    It wound up taking just weeks for the coronavirus pandemic to shut down nonessential businesses across most states, as well as put more than 36 million people out of work. Knowing full-well the implications of shutting down large swaths of the economy to slow disease transmission, Congress passed and the president signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act into law on March 27. For example, the CARES Act provided $500 billion for distressed industry loans, close to $350 billion for small business loans, $100 billion for hospitals, and apportioned $260 billion to expand the unemployment benefits program through July.

  • Reliance Starts Trials of JioMart Shopping Portal Across India

    Reliance Starts Trials of JioMart Shopping Portal Across India

    (Bloomberg) -- Reliance Industries Ltd. has started testing its online grocery shopping portal across India, still under a nationwide lockdown to control the spread of the coronavirus.JioMart is now delivering in more than 200 cities, Damodar Mall, the chief executive officer of Reliance Retail’s grocery business said in a tweet. JioMart last month started a pilot project serving users in three neighborhoods surrounding Mumbai.Read here: Ambani Tests WhatsApp-Backed Online Store in Locked-Down IndiaThe soft launch of JioMart takes Reliance Chairman Mukesh Ambani, also Asia’s richest man, one step closer to taking on Amazon.com Inc. and Walmart Inc.’s Flipkart in an e-commerce market that KPMG says is likely to grow to $200 billion by 2027.A Reliance spokesperson declined to comment on the JioMart launch.The JioMart shopping app is available via Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp, which in India has about 400 million users. Facebook has said it expects the partnership with JioMart will help make WhatsApp the primary way small businesses connect with customers.New York-based KKR & Co. on Friday became the latest private equity firm to invest in Jio Platforms Ltd., the digital services holding company controlled by Reliance. KKR will pay 113.7 billion rupees ($1.5 billion) for a 2.3% stake in Jio Platforms.Ambani has been selling stakes in Jio Platforms as he tries to bring Reliance’s net debt of more than $20 billion down to zero before March 2021. Reliance wants to shift away from oil and petrochemicals toward faster-growing consumer businesses.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Financial Times

    Hans Vestberg: The 5G evangelist with a vision for the future

    The 54-year-old Swede, who developed the strategy to be one of the first telecom companies in the world to set up 5G, laughs out loud when asked if the barrage of insults from Mr Legere distracted him early in his tenure as boss of a company worth almost $250bn. The brash Mr Legere may have been a different type of adversary for Mr Vestberg, who had previously faced off against the likes of Ren Zhengfei, the founder of Huawei, in his previous job running telecoms equipment company Ericsson.

  • Hackers release a new jailbreak that unlocks every iPhone

    Hackers release a new jailbreak that unlocks every iPhone

    A renowned iPhone hacking team has released a new "jailbreak" tool that unlocks every iPhone, even the most recent models running the latest iOS 13.5. For as long as Apple has kept up its "walled garden" approach to iPhones by only allowing apps and customizations that it approves, hackers have tried to break free from what they call the "jail," hence the name "jailbreak." Hackers do this by finding a previously undisclosed vulnerability in iOS that break through some of the many restrictions that Apple puts in place to prevent access to the underlying software.

  • China's Crypto Is All About Tracing — and Power

    China's Crypto Is All About Tracing — and Power

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- The coronavirus has disrupted the world in very large ways. While that battle has been waged, however, another event has almost been missed: the birth of a new kind of fiat currency, which could forever reshape the relationship between money, economic power and geopolitical clout. An official Chinese digital yuan, more than five years in the making, is now in pilot runs to slowly start replacing the physical legal tender. If the experiment succeeds, this new cash, valued the same as the familiar banknotes bearing Mao Zedong’s image, will become the world’s first sovereign token to reside exclusively in the ether.The trials are taking place just as the blame game around the coronavirus deepens mistrust between the U.S. and China. With President Donald Trump warning that Washington would respond if Beijing intervenes against protests and democratic movements in Hong Kong, chances of a detente from last year’s trade war are fading.Outside the People’s Republic, the big question is if the digital yuan is a challenger to the dollar. Within China, though, there’s a more mundane explanation for why Beijing wants to turn banknotes in circulation into virtual tokens. Chinese consumers have bypassed both computers and credit cards to embrace mobile payment apps, which have gone on to spawn large money-market funds investing in high-yielding wealth-management products. This has led to the accumulation of risks in opaque shadow banking. Bringing them out in the open requires a leg up for traditional lenders in payments, an area where financial technology has left them far behind. The digital yuan, which will be pushed out to consumers via banks, seeks to restore this missing balance; it will allow authorities to “regulate an overstretched debt market more effectively,” says DBS Group Holdings Ltd. economist Nathan Chow.Still, there’s also a power play. It isn’t a coincidence that China’s project picked up speed last year as Facebook Inc. announced Libra. The proposed stablecoin promised to hold its value against a basket of major official currencies rather than gyrating wildly like Bitcoin. When it looked like regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere would nix this synthetic global cryptocurrency, the Libra Association curbed the scope of its undertaking. But the idea of “a regulated global network for cost-effective retail payments,” as described by Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings Pte, a new member of Libra’s Geneva-based governing body, remains alive. For Beijing to shake the dollar’s hegemony, it has to pre-empt Silicon Valley from taking the pole position. Hence the hurry for China’s test runs. According to media reports, half the May transport subsidy for Suzhou municipal employees will be in the form of digital currency electronic payment, or DCEP, as it’s being called in the absence of a catchier moniker. The pilot plan in Xiong’an, a satellite city of Beijing, includes coffee shops, fast food, retailers, theaters and bookstores, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. has noted. The other trials are reserved for Chengdu and Shenzhen. Thanks to Alipay and WeChat Pay, 80% of Chinese smartphone users whip out their mobiles to make payments, more than anywhere in the world. To them, the DCEP wallets being provided by the big four state banks should seem much the same. But there are differences. In this new system, a low-value transaction can go through even if both parties are offline. Also, this is sovereign liability, safe if an intermediary goes bankrupt. The big four lenders — and later fintech firms — will distribute the tokens, but the funds won’t reside in bank accounts. This will be unlike existing payment apps that only move one institution’s IOUs to another. Beijing was going to launch the digital money even before the pandemic. However, adoption could be faster now because of people’s fear of catching an infection from handling cash. Also, it’s possible to trace in real time whether an anti-virus subsidy, given out in tokenized form, is reaching the target. Once it has, the tracking would be “turned off” to ensure corporate and household spending stays anonymous, Goldman says. Strictly speaking, though, the anonymity of cash will no longer exist. Authorities can look under the hood of pseudonymous transactions for unwanted activity, an outcome far removed from the vision that drove libertarians (and money launderers) to cryptocurrencies in the first place. With the outbreak giving legitimacy to intrusive physical contact tracing, the case for financial tracing gets even stronger. Exchange of digital yuan between customers and merchants will pop up on a centralized ledger, and go through far more swiftly than in Bitcoin-style setups that rely on widely distributed ledgers of asset ownership. Every nation projects power when others desire its money — something that costs the home country nothing to produce. But as with any digital network, the sovereign tokens that take off first could end up winning disproportionately. The digital yuan could find customers overseas, especially in places where China is making belt-and-road investments. For one thing, they wouldn’t have to pay banks fat fees for running the $124 trillion-a-year business-to-business international transfers market.By distributing digital currency through banks, China has given its big institutions a chance to match the payment technology of fintech rivals. But it’s possible that a central bank in another country would bypass intermediaries altogether, potentially making the state the monopoly supplier of money to retail customers. That, as I wrote in December, could upend banking. The digital yuan may have started modestly, but it might pave the way for changes that are both ambitious and long outlast the coronavirus. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Andy Mukherjee is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering industrial companies and financial services. He previously was a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. He has also worked for the Straits Times, ET NOW and Bloomberg News.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinionSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Oilprice.com

    Which Oil Major Is Best Prepared For The Future?

    Oil majors are forced to prepare for a challenging future, but the ways in which they position themselves are quite different