Five things you might have missed from last week, including TikTok, Vivo, Beyond Meat and Uber.

Trump’s TikTok ultimatum

The US President has issued executive orders that would ban TikTok and WeChat from operating in the US in 45 days if they are not sold by their Chinese-owned parent companies. A presidential working group has also recommended new rules for listing on US bourses that could force Chinese companies to delist by January 2022 if they don’t comply. There will surely be a response from China, but the government there plays a longer game than Trump … watch this space.

Chinese brands lay low in India

Chinese brands are also facing a hard time in India. Back in March, TikTok was forecasting 50% user growth in 2020; now it’s banned, along with more than 50 other Chinese apps. Smartphone brand Vivo hasn’t been banned but, facing a wave of anti-China sentiment, it has felt it necessary to pull out of some high-profile sponsorship deals: as well as the India Premier League, it is now reported to have ended deals with the Pro Kabbadi League and popular TV reality show Bigg Boss and to be focusing instead on selling products via retail discounts. Presumably it is redirecting all the money it would have spent on sponsorship, so there could be some good deals on offer.

New food opportunities

Meanwhile, China’s government is reported to be looking to reduce the country’s meat consumption – partly to cut carbon emissions, partly to address increasing obesity – and to be encouraging foreign investment in plant-based meats. Nestlé is building a new plant in China, Cargill’s PlantEver and Beyond Meat are now moving into retail, having started in foodservice. “We believe that plant-based meat, as a new food technology, will transform the traditional food industry like the internet transformed traditional industries,” says a Shenzhen-based vegan food company.  

COVID and the food chain

Another reason for investing in plant-based foods is that fact that so many human pathogens are of animal origin. While Wuhan’s wet markets may not have been ground zero for COVID-19, scientists are well aware of the risk that new viruses with pandemic potential may emerge as a result of industrialised farming methods. An EIU blog reminds everyone that food safety is vital at every stage of the food chain: farmers, manufacturers, buyers, packagers, distributors, regulators and consumers all have a role to play. 

Uber’s food delivery picks up

It’ll come as no surprise that the taxi part of Uber’s business hasn’t fared well during lockdowns around the world. But the pandemic is reshaping the other arm of the business: revenue from food delivery doubled in the second quarter and it has shifted from being a “luxury to a utility”, according to chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi. “We are fortunate to have both a global footprint and such a natural hedge across our two core segments: as some people stay closer to home, more people are ordering from Uber Eats than ever before,” he said in an investor call.

Sourced from WARC