Tik Tok, Jio Platforms and Hydroxychloroquine

TikTok responds to India's ban, Intel invests in Jio and a study shows hydroxychloroquine may have an impact on Covid-19.
iPhone with TikTok app displayed.
"Tiktok" by TheBetterDay is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0
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July 3, 2020 – TikTok responds to India’s ban, Intel invests in Jio and a study shows hydroxychloroquine may have an impact on Covid-19.

Today’s newsletter 1,049 words, a 5-minute read. Let’s get to it:

TikTok Tackles India App Ban, Vowing It’s No Tool for Beijing

India took action against China this week, adding TikTok to the banned apps in the country. The move comes after a border clash between the two countries last month left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead. India has also banned apps by Alibaba and Tencent.

Why It Matters

TikTok has drawn plenty of criticism for its Chinese roots, and now it’s making a concerted effort to distance itself from Beijing. Part of that strategy included poaching former Disney executive Kevin Mayer to serve as TikTok’s CEO. Mayer said Chinese authorities never requested data on their Indian users, and the company would have never complied even if they did. Still, TikTok now joins a lengthy list of other Chinese apps banned in India.

The broader implication here is China, and its top tech companies, are being boxed out what is considered one of the world’s largest untapped digital markets. Based on downloads, India is TikTok’s largest market by users outside of China.

Numbers to Consider

  • 59 – The number of Chinese apps banned in India.
  • 660 Million – The number of downloads TikTok received in India.


Ambani’s Jio Adds Intel Backing With $253 Million Stake Sale

Intel is purchasing a stake in Jio Platforms for $253 million. The computer chip giant joins a notable roster of big tech and private equity firms investing billions into India’s largest wireless carrier.

Why It Matters

Jio is hoarding money to pay off debt from constructing one of the world’s biggest wireless networks. In the process, it’s let some pretty big names – Facebook and Silver Lake Partners – through the door. India is widely seen as a massively untapped digital market, and with affordable data plans and cheap handsets, Jio is bringing many Indian users online for the first time.

The move further signals Indian billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s plans to transform his conglomerate – Reliant Industries Ltd. – “into a digital services giant and reduce its dependence on revenue from oil refining and petrochemicals,” Bloomberg writes. Tech Crunch also reported Jio is planning to take on Zoom, after launching its own video-conferencing app Thursday.

Numbers to Consider

  • $15 Billion – The total amount Jio has raised from a slew of investments since April.
  • $65 Billion – The estimated valuation of Jio based on Intel’s investment.
  • 400 Million – The rough number of wireless subscribers on Jio’s network.

Read More: (BLOOMBERG)

Hydroxychloroquine Given Early Helped Coronavirus Patients, Study Finds

As the world scrambles to find some form of treatment against Covid-19, hydroxychloroquine may have a place again. A recent study published online by the International Journal of Infectious Diseases suggests the drug can be useful if given during the early stages of contracting the virus and at the right dose.

Why It Matters

Earlier this year, the health care industry began treating Covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine. But several studies since then raised questions about its efficacy against coronavirus. Last month, the National Institutes of Health halted clinical trials of the drug and concluded it was unlikely to help hospitalized patients. The FDA also revoked hydroxychloroquine’s emergency approval.

Further research is needed to confirm the study’s results, and it’s important to note this was done by analyzing medical records as opposed to a randomly assigned placebo study. None of the patients in this study treated with hydroxychloroquine had severe heart conditions as well. However, any form of defense against Covid-19 is welcomed and could be a stepping stone to even better treatment. 

Numbers to Consider

  • 2,541 – The number of patients who had medical records analyzed for this study.
  • 13 Percent – The share of Covid-19 patients in the study that received hydroxychloroquine and later died, as opposed to 26 percent that didn’t receive the drug and passed away.
  • 80 Percent – The percentage of patients who got the drug within 24 hours of admission.


A Quick Look

Tesla Quarterly Deliveries Fell Less Than Expected Amid Covid Shutdown

  1. Tesla’s second-quarter global deliveries only decreased by 4.9 percent year-over-year, a much smaller decline than expected.
  2. The company delivered 90,650 vehicles in Q2, compared to 95,356 from a year earlier. Thanks to Tesla’s new Chinese factor, leftover inventory, price cuts and Elon Musk’s defiance over local authorities in California, the company continued vehicle production through Covid-19. Tesla built 82,272 vehicles during the second quarter, down from 87,000 a year earlier.
  3. The global auto-industry expects a 34 percent year-over-year drop in the second quarter.


Worth Your Time

It’s All Behind Us Now: Wirecard’s fall from grace remains one of the wildest financial stories to come out of 2020. On June 17, Wirecard was valued at more than $14 billion. Eight days later, it filed for bankruptcy. With shady, third-party dealings and a “fictitious” $2 billion, Wirecard went from promising European tech company to fraud in just a few short weeks, drawing comparisons to Enron Corp’s rapid collapse nearly 20 years ago. (WALL STREET JOURNAL)

Can’t Stand Losing: If anyone thought Japan wasn’t feeling the heat of Covid-19 before, the country certainly is now. Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s biggest, posted a record loss in the first three months of 2020. In just one quarter, the pandemic erased an entire fiscal year of returns. The stark reversal could put Japan’s social security in question, a significant concern for the tens of millions of retirees in the country. (BLOOMBERG)

Stop, Look and Listen: Advertisers have caught Facebook’s attention after instituting a boycott to call attention to the platform’s lack of action to eliminate hate speech and polarize its audience. But there’s no real fix in sight. This isn’t Facebook’s first “we can do better moment,” and as The Wall Street Journal writes, “there have been many, and there will probably be more.” (WALL STREET JOURNAL)

A Couple Cents Content

In case you missed it, check out Justin Oh’s live show from last night. He talks about the five things that will solve the Covid-19 economy and plenty more. (YOUTUBE)

A few days ago, I took a look at Lululemon’s purchase of in-home fitness company Mirror. (POST)

Also, I now have a dedicated twitter for investing, finance and all things A Couple Cents. Follow me! (TWITTER)


Have a great Fourth of July!

— Justin Birnbaum

Image: “Tiktok” by TheBetterDay is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

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  1. Great stuff Justin. Curios how other folks are thinking about COVIDs impact on the markets going forward? Are we just waiting for a vaccine and how long will it take? Or do you think we can return to some level of normalcy with businesses reopening before a vaccine is found?

    1. good day Blaine… the fastest time a vaccine was EVER developed was about 4 years so everytime when i hear on the news that there will be a vaccine this year or next, i would take out my salt bottle.:)

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