1. WHO reports Coronavirus cases have reached an all time high
In Japan, the country has reported 3 days straight of over 100 cases of Covid-19, yesterday they reported 111 cases. Infections are growing among younger people, similarly to the United States and many of them are being traced to host and hostess bars and other nightlife venues.
The government is not planning to re-enforce the state of emergency in Japan and intends to keep the economy open. This is most likely the trend we’ll see elsewhere across the world, as economies have been battered by lockdowns and pauses on businesses.
“Some countries who have had success in suppressing transmission who are opening up now may have a setback, may have to implement interventions again, may have to implement these so-called lockdowns again,” said Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of the WHO’s emerging diseases unit.
Florida and Texas hit a record number of daily coronavirus cases on Saturday, respectively reporting 11,445 and 8,258 new cases in the last 24 hours, as it comes out of 4th of July weekend, a weekend often spent celebrating with family and friends at parties.
Even as Florida reports record case numbers, Gov. Ron DeSantis has said he won’t close businesses again and has repeatedly refused to order a statewide mask mandate to curb the spread of the virus. However, the governor has since suggested that Florida won’t move ahead with re-opening plans for the time being. This left the mandate open for local governments in Florida to take more aggressive measures. Miami-Dade and Broward Counties closed their beaches for 4th of July weekend, as well as enforced a 10pm-6am curfew to avoid mass gatherings.
2. China accuses Canada of ‘grossly interfering’ over Hong Kong national security law
Over the weekend, Canada said it was suspending its extradition treaty with Hong Kong to protest the new national security law enforced by China.
China’a retaliation? It accused Canada of meddling. In a statement published by the Chinese embassy in Ottawa, Canada, a spokesperson said Canada’s “unwarranted comments” on the new law was a sign of Canada “grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs.”
China wrote that “the new law would “ensure social order and benefit Hong Kong citizens and international investors.”
3. Indian food delivery startup Zomato loses out on funding as India-China tensions grow
The anti-China wave has hit India’s tech scene and its the tech players that may see the short end of the stick on this.
Food delivery startup Zomato has been cut off from US$100 million in fresh funding from Alibaba’s Ant Financial due to Delhi’s new foreign investment law.
In January, Zomato announced it had secured $150m in fresh funding from Ant Financial, but it has been unable to receive the US$100 million portion. This isn’t related to recent India-China tensions over the banning of Chinese apps, including TikTok, but that clearly doesn’t help either.
According to the Financial Times, the Indian government announced back in April that it would block “opportunistic takeovers” by requiring official approval for any investment from a country that shares a land border with India.
Following a deadly clash between soldiers from the two countries in the Himalayas just a few weeks ago have created an anti-Chinese sentiment. But this will be difficult for Indian tech companies, as many have relied on funding from Chinese giants such as Tencent and Alibaba.
Ant Financial has invested about US$560 million in Zomato, giving it a stake of more than 25% in the company.
18 of India’s 30 unicorns are funded either by big Chinese tech giants or venture capital funds, Chinese tech investors have put an estimated $4 billion into Indian start-ups overall. Geo-political implications are making it difficult for the tech sector, but perhaps the government has a bigger task at hand.
4. Intel buys stake in India’s Jio Platforms
Whilst India is inching away from China, it’s moving closer to US companies through Jio Platforms, India’s largest wireless carrier with global tech ambitions. Jio is part of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s conglomerate, Reliance Industries.
Jio Platforms also operates a handful of digital apps and services, including music streaming service JioSaavn (which it says it will take public), on-demand live television service JioTV and payments app JioMoney
Jio has sold about 25% stake of its company to Facebook, US private equity firms like KKR and General Atlantic and now the latest investor, Intel who will put in US$253 million for a 0.39% stake through its investment arm, Intel Capital.
Intel is Jio’s 12th investor, and its stake gives Jio a valuation of US$65 billion.
“Jio Platforms’ focus on applying its impressive engineering capabilities to bring the power of low-cost digital services to India aligns with Intel’s purpose of delivering breakthrough technology that enriches lives,” said Wendell Brooks, Intel Capital President.