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Lance Armstrong says his investment in Uber ‘saved our family’

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After Lance Armstrong’s fall from grace cost him millions of dollars in lost endorsements and lawsuit settlements, one thing kept him on his feet: his investment in Uber.

“It’s saved our family,” Armstrong told CNBC’s Andrew Sorkin in an interview aired on Thursday. In 2009, the former pro cyclist invested $100,000 in Chris Sacca’s nascent venture capital firm, Lowercase Capital. Armstrong said the bulk of the money went to Uber, which at the time was valued at just $3.7 million. Today, as the company prepares for its IPO, banks have valued Uber at as much as $120 billion.

At the time he invested in Sacca’s firm, Armstrong said, “I didn’t even know that he did Uber. I thought he was buying up a bunch of Twitter shares from employees or former employees, and the biggest investment in [the] Lowercase fund one was Uber.”

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BT’s EE, Vodafone pause launch of Huawei 5G phones

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A pedestrian walks past a Huawei product stand at an EE telecommunications shop in central London on April 29, 2019.

Tolga Akmen | AFP | Getty Images

U.K. cell phone network operators EE and Vodafone are temporarily putting the launch of 5G smartphones from Huawei on hold. The news comes as the U.S. places renewed political pressure on the Chinese telecommunications giant.

EE, which is owned by telecommunications giant BT, said it would put the launch of Huawei’s 5G devices on pause until it receives the “information and confidence” needed to support its customers.

“When that information changes, then we’ll move forward and hopefully launch them, but for now we’ve put that on pause,” EE CEO Marc Allera said Wednesday.

An EE spokesperson subsequently told CNBC the firm was working with Huawei and Google to “make sure we can carry out the right level of testing and quality assurance.”

Vodafone, meanwhile, subsequently confirmed reports that it would not be accepting pre-orders for Huawei’s 5G-enabled Huawei Mate 20 X in the U.K.

“This is a temporary measure while uncertainty exists regarding new Huawei 5G devices,” a Vodafone spokesperson told CNBC. “We will keep this situation under review.”

A spokesperson for Huawei said it recognized the pressure its suppliers are facing amid “politically motivated decisions.”

“We are confident this regrettable situation can be resolved and our priority remains to continue to deliver world-class technology and products to our customers around the world.”

EE is set to launch its 5G service in the U.K. next Thursday, meaning it will be the first British cell phone operator to do so.

The race toward 5G has become a massive battleground for major telecommunications companies, with U.S. giant Verizon rolling out its next-generation network for smartphones earlier this year.

That race has been complicated however by increasing pressure from Washington on Huawei, the top telecommunications equipment maker worldwide. Huawei is considered a leader in 5G, but U.S. officials are concerned its equipment could be used for Chinese espionage, a claim the firm denies.

President Donald Trump’s administration recently added Huawei to a trade blacklist that means it can’t buy U.S. technology before gaining special approval from the government. The U.S. did, however, relax those restrictions temporarily, giving mobile and internet broadband firms a 90-day reprieve to continue working with Huawei.

Google initially decided to stop licensing its Android mobile operating system to Huawei, only to then say it would continue sending software updates to the Shenzhen-based firm’s phones, following the announcement of temporary exemptions.

Francisco Jeronimo, associate vice president for European devices at IDC, said network carriers likely “don’t want to sell a device that will not provide the full Android experience to their customers.”

“If there’s no solution to this case, I wonder if operators and retailers will start taking Huawei devices off the shelves and reduce the investment they are putting into Huawei devices.”

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Treasury Secretary Mnuchin says no plans to go to Beijing for trade talks yet

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Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said a resumption of trade talks with China is not on the calendar yet.

Mnuchin told CNBC’s Ylan Mui on Wednesday that a trip to Beijing has not been scheduled. Mnuchin made the comments on his way into a hearing in front of the House Financial Services Committee.

China has invited the U.S. delegation to Beijing after the two countries failed to reach a trade agreement in Washington DC this month.

“I’m still hopeful that we can get back to the table. The two presidents will most likely see each other at the end of June,” Mnuchin said during the hearing. The two leaders are set to meet at the G-20 summit in Japan next month.

President Donald Trump followed through with his threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. China immediately responded by upping the tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods to as high as 25%.

The trade tensions further intensified this week as the U.S. blacklisted Huawei and effectively halted its ability to buy American-made parts and components. China on Wednesday threatened to cut more economic ties with the U.S. in wake of the new tariffs and Huawei ban.

The talks between the U.S. and China appeared to have stalled as it is unclear what the two sides would negotiate, CNBC previously reported. Trump said recently he has not “made that decision yet” on whether to put tariffs on another $325 billion in Chinese goods.

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Trade war forcing China to ‘rethink economic ties’ with the US

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China is exploring more drastic action as a result of its trade fight with the U.S., according to the South China Morning Post.

While China is open to resuming trade talks, “government advisers are now highlighting the risk of sourcing critical supplies from an increasingly hostile US…and are exploring ways for the country to cut its exposure to the US,” the paper said, citing Chinese researchers. The article was titled, “Donald Trump’s trade war and Huawei ban push China to rethink economic ties with US.”

And China is considering cutting natural gas purchases from the U.S. as part of this movement, the paper said.

“The idea that China should buy large amounts of natural gas from the U.S. must be revisited,” Wang Yongzhong, a senior fellow with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a governmental think tank, told the Hong Kong-based newspaper on Monday.

The move came after President Donald Trump’s latest action to choke Huawei, effectively halting its ability to buy American-made parts and components. China is now threatening to stop funding an industry that the two countries have done sizable deals in. In 2017, China agreed to fund a natural gas project in Alaska worth US$43 billion, the South China Morning Post said.

“China may have to cap U.S. supplies at 10 or 15 percent of its overseas purchases for the sake of supply chain security,” said Wang, who specializes in China’s energy supply security. “What if the [energy] supply [including both liquefied natural gas and crude oil] is cut off suddenly, as we have seen in the Huawei case?”

China bought US$6.3 billion worth of American crude oil and liquefied natural gas in 2017, 3.6% of the country’s purchases of foreign energy products, the newspaper said, adding that China’s reliance on U.S. energy products is “limited.”

U.S. restrictions on Huawei had forced tech companies and chipmakers including Google and Qualcomm to cut ties with the Chinese telecom giant until the U.S. granted a 90-day license to keep existing networks online. The ban sparked a big sell-off in the semiconductor stocks on Monday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping ramped up his rhetoric on the trade war on Monday by saying China is embarking on a “new Long March, and we must start all over again!”

The trade negotiations between the world’s two largest countries have hit a roadblock after Trump followed through with his threat to increase tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods from 10% to 25%. China immediately responded by upping the tariffs on $60 billion of U.S. goods to as high as 25%.

— Click here to read the original story .

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