The Beijing based video-sharing social networking firm, TikTok, is currently in discussions with the British government for some months over the relocation of its headquarters to London.
According to an available report from Reuters, this is part of the strategy of the internet technology firm to distance itself from its Chinese ownership.
The British capital is among the several locations that the company is considering moving to, but no definite decisions have been taken.
Tik Tok, which is owned by Chinese based ByteDance, was labelled a potential counterintelligence threat by senior members of the US congress. It is facing heavy scrutiny in Washington over suspicions China could force the company to turn over data.
The company which the US is considering banning, is also recruiting a team of well-connected lobbyists.
While TikTok’s headline security warnings have been mainly in the U.S., with cybersecurity alerts and reports of military bans, the platform has actually seen more ruthless treatment at the hands of governments elsewhere—particularly India
It was not immediately clear the other locations that are being considered, it has however hired aggressively in California, including poaching Kevin Mayer, a former Walt Disney Co executive, to be Tik Tok’s Chief Executive.
A source disclosed that the company is largely focused on its issues in the United States over the last few weeks, but has not ruled out London as a potential location for its new headquarters. TikTok is expected to significantly increase the size of its workforce in London and other key locations outside of China over the next few years, the source said.
A report from Sunday Times however suggests that TikTok has broken off talks with the UK government over the opening of global headquarters in Britain. The company has been courting younger MPs as it seeks allies in the battles ahead.
However, there has not been a comment from TikTok.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp user base top 3.3 billion, Q4 revenue of $28 billion
More people are spending their time online on the bias COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.
The world’s biggest social media company, Facebook, recently posted its fourth-quarter earnings which were better than what many stock market experts had expected, against a backdrop of growing regulatory and political challenges.
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp now have a combined user base of 3.3 billion to get their messages out.
Facebook itself has about 2.8 billion monthly users, beating the Wall Street market prediction of 2.76 billion, as humans spend more of their activities online on the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.
Here are highlights of key metrics expected versus the comparable year-ago quarter, according to a Bloomberg consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts:
- Revenue: $28 billion vs $26.407 billion estimated; $21.082 billion in Q4 2019.
- Earnings per share (Adjusted): $3.88 vs $3.54 expected; $2.56 in Q4 2019.
- Ad Revenue: $27.19 billion vs. $26.07 billion expected; $20.74 billion in Q4 2019.
- Daily Active Users (DAU): 1.84 billion vs 1.828 billion estimates; 1.66 billion in Q4 2019.
“We believe our business has benefited from two broad economic trends playing out during the pandemic. The first is the ongoing shift towards online commerce.
“The second is the shift in consumer demand towards products and away from services.” Facebook CFO, Dave Wehner, said.
Capital expenditures including principal payments on finance leases, were $4.82 billion and $15.72 billion for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020, respectively.
Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $61.95 billion as of December 31, 2020.
However, in spite of an impressive earning resulted posted by the world’s most valuable social media company, Facebook shares tanked by more than 3% on the consideration that the company printed a blurry outlook amid growing regulatory concerns and stiff competition.
“We also expect to face more significant ad targeting headwinds in 2021. This includes the impact of platform changes, notably iOS 14, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape. While the timing of the iOS 14 changes remains uncertain, we would expect to see an impact beginning late in the first quarter,” Dave Wehner said.
iPhone users top 1 billion, Apple posts revenue of $111.4 billion
The company passed 1.65 billion total installed devices worldwide in the quarter, with the installed base of iPhone topping 1 billion.
The world’s most valuable listed company, Apple, printed better-than-expected results for its fiscal first quarter on the basis that users acquired more Macs, iPads, iPhones, and other Apple products at a record pace. Apple’s sales also beat stock market experts’ expectations.
However, Apple shares were down on account that the company failed to provide guidance for the December quarter, which made some investors jittery, thereby shorting the stock.
- On a conference call with stock market experts and journalists, Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, disclosed the company passed 1.65 billion total installed devices worldwide in the quarter, with the installed base of iPhone topping 1 billion.
- Overall, Apple printed a revenue of $111.4 billion, up 21% from the year-earlier quarter, and profits of $1.68 a share. That was well above the Wall Street consensus of $102.8 billion and $1.40 a share.
“This quarter for Apple wouldn’t have been possible without the tireless and innovative work of every Apple team member worldwide,” said Tim Cook. “We’re gratified by the enthusiastic customer response to the unmatched line of cutting-edge products that we delivered across a historic holiday season.”
The three months ended Dec. 31 were also strong for Apple laptops and tablets. For iPads, sales were $8.4 billion, up 41%, and ahead of the stock market expert prediction of $7.4 billion.
Apple sales gained about 12% in the Americas, 57% in Greater China, and 17% in Europe, with gains of 33% in Japan and 11.5% in the rest of Asia.
The tech company’s wearables sales posted incredible numbers as well, with gains of 30% to $13 billion, ahead of the stock market experts’ prediction at $11.5 billion. And services revenue jumped 24% to $15.7 billion, ahead of the Street consensus at $15.2 billion.
“We are also focused on how we can help the communities we’re a part of build back strongly and equitably, through efforts like our Racial Equity and Justice Initiative as well as our multi-year commitment to invest $350 billion throughout the United States.”
“Our December quarter business performance was fueled by double-digit growth in each product category, which drove all-time revenue records in each of our geographic segments and an all-time high for our installed base of active devices,” said Luca Maestri, Apple’s CFO.
“These results helped us generate a record operating cash flow of $38.8 billion. We also returned over $30 billion to shareholders during the quarter as we maintain our target of reaching a net cash neutral position over time.”
Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $0.205 per share of the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on February 11, 2021, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 8, 2021.
The most valuable tech company had posted gains of over 80% in 2020 as the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which it is a component, has risen about 6%.
Calendly, cloud scheduling platform raises $350m on $3bn valuation
Calendlyhas closed an investment of $350 million from OpenView Venture Partners and Iconiq.
Cloud scheduling startup, Calendly LLC announced it has raised $350 million in new funding to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees and continue product development. This investment has now valued the company at more than $3 billion.
This funding round was led by OpenView Venture Partners, a Boston-based expansion-stage firm and existing investor, with participation from San Fransisco-based Iconiq Capital.
Founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona, Calendly simplifies the way meetings are scheduled by creating simple rules such as availability preferences, share links, or embed calendars and allows those seeking a meeting to pick a time using the service.
The platform can also be integrated with Google, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendar to avoid double bookings along with automated task support linked into Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Zapier, and other services.
This new funding will be used to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees as well as continue product innovation. It will also be used to build the platform with more tools and integrations and also expand its business with more talent.
According to Tope Awotona, “Our profitable, unique, product-led growth model has led to Calendly becoming the most used, most integrated, most loved scheduling platforms for individuals and large enterprises alike,”
This funding round is Calendly’s first since receiving $550,000 from local firm Atlanta Ventures and OpenView.
Tope also added that “While we considered outside investment an unnecessary distraction, we made the decision to partner with OpenView and Iconiq because of their insight and extended network within the tech industry. While some of the investment will add to our balance sheet, it will also be used to allow our early employees and early investors – who bet on this crazy idea years ago – to have some liquidity.”
What you should know
- In 2020, Calendly doubled its subscription revenue to $70 million and since then, the startup has grown massively despite the pandemic. It currently has more than 10 million users using it each month to streamline the way they schedule meetings, including teams at companies such as Zoom and Twilio.