Last week, the Dow Jones dipped 0.2%, S&P 500 rose 1.6%, and Nasdaq composite was up 3.3%. The small-cap Russell 2000 sprinted 3.9% higher. According to the WSJ, The Nasdaq has been a star performer, gaining 15% over the past five weeks in its best such stretch since May 2020. Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies hosted a Corporate Update Webinar.  Shopify made an investment into United States-based Triple Whale’s Series B round as the e-commerce giant continues to fund companies that support the Shopify merchant system. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes a U-turn on metaverse spending as Reality Labs is hit with a new ‘efficiency’ mantra, sending the stock up 23% for the week. Google invests US$300 million in OpenAI rival Anthropic. ChatGPT may be the fastest-growing consumer app in internet history, reaching 100 million users in just over 2 months, UBS report says. China’s Baidu to launch ChatGPT-style bot in March. Berkshire Hathaway has cashed in at least US$300 million in Tesla rival BYD stock in the past month. Crypto-linked stocks are on a tear, with Coinbase, MicroStrategy, Marathon Digital and Riot Platforms up more than 100% in a month as risk appetite returns. Amazon sees AWS slowdown lasting for several quarters. Apple and Google face mounting pressure to remove TikTok from app stores. The European Union is weighing a proposal to make technology companies that use the most bandwidth, like Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc., to help pay for the next generation of internet infrastructure, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg. A plan by China to restrict exports of key solar manufacturing technology could delay attempts to build up a domestic solar supply chain in the U.S., industry experts say. China currently accounts for nearly all of solar ingot and wafer production globally, as well as much of the equipment used in the manufacturing process—especially for the large-scale solar panels that increasingly dominate the market.

Canadian Technology Capital Markets & Company News

Sophic Client Clear Blue Technologies (CBLU-TSXV, CBUTF-OTC, OYA-FRA): In case you missed it: Clear Blue Corporate Update webinar recording now available.

On Wednesday, Clear Blue CEO Miriam Tuerk hosted a Corporate Update Webinar to discuss the eSite Power Systems acquisition, and other investor-related news. Thank you to all who were able to attend. In case you missed it, the recording of the webinar is available. https://tinyurl.com/2sck7fbp

Shopify (SHOP-NYSE, SHOP-TSX) invests in US-based e-commerce analytics aggregator Triple Whale.

Shopify has made an investment into United States-based Triple Whale’s Series B round as the e-commerce giant continues to fund companies that support the Shopify merchant system. Triple Whale’s data platform allows Shopify store owners to unify their business metrics into one dashboard. The company said this helps merchants locate key metrics and insights into the performance of their advertising campaigns. Triple Whale represents one of the latest additions to Shopify’s investment portfolio, which largely focuses on funding the companies that support the Shopify merchant ecosystem. In October 2022, Hong Kong-based customer engagement software provider WATI announced that it raised US$23 million in Series B funding with participation from Shopify. WATI’s platform is built on WhatsApp’s Business API, and allows business owners to send personalized notifications to customers from their system. Other companies that Shopify has backed include Toronto digital logistics startup Swyft, as well as Loop, an American startup offering an exchange-first returns platform for Shopify brands. Shopify holds the potential to make profit from these strategic investments. Shopify was one of the beneficiaries of ‘buy-now-pay-later’ company Affirm, which went public on Nasdaq in January 2021. At the time of its IPO, Shopify owned over 20 million shares of Affirm, worth approximately US$2 billion. In addition to funds, Shopify has acquired several companies as part of its strategy to bolster its merchant support ecosystem. This includes San Francisco-based shipping services provider Deliverr, as well as New York B2B commerce wholesale platform Handshake. https://tinyurl.com/4zjcxvzx

RocketRez closes $20 million Series B to fuel European tourism expansion.

Steinbach, Manitoba-based ticketing and operations software platform RocketRez has secured $20 million (US$15 million) in Series B financing from American investor Level Equity. RocketRez’s all-equity Series B funding closed in December and was funded entirely by Level Equity, a New York-based, software-focused middle-market growth capital firm. Pendergrast noted that the round included a “small” amount of secondary financing as the CEO and some employees sold shares but declined to disclose the exact amount. With this capital, RocketRez has now raised about $29 million in total funding to date. As part of the deal, Level Equity partner Charles Chen is joining RocketRez’s board. http://bit.ly/3JCogpd

Raven Indigenous Capital Partners tops initial target for second fund with $100 million final close.

Indigenous-led venture capital firm Raven Indigenous Capital Partners has announced the final closing of its $100 million second fund, topping its initial target of $75 million. Raven Capital’s second fund is meant to build on the venture firm’s Fund I, investing exclusively in Indigenous enterprises that demonstrate commercial viability, potential for scale, and measurable community benefit streams. A spokesperson for Raven Capital told BetaKit that the final close of its second fund occurred in December 2022, amassing participation from MassMutual, Export Development Canada, InBC Investment, Fondation Chagnon, the MacArthur Foundation, and the JW McConnell Foundation. Raven Capital launched its first fund in 2019 with an initial goal of $5 million. The Vancouver-based VC firm ended up with an oversubscribed round, closing its first fund with $25 million. The second fund was established in September 2022, raising an initial close of $46 million from BDC Capital, Farm Credit Canada, the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good, Vancity, Bank of America, and others. http://bit.ly/3laalMU

Global Markets: IPOs, Venture Capital, M&A

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg makes a U-turn on metaverse spending as Reality Labs is hit with a new ‘efficiency’ mantra.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone in a few months’ time from pushing the metaverse as the future of his company to it being just another long term project. The Reality Labs division, tasked with building the metaverse, lost US$13.7 billion this year, according to Wednesday’s disclosure. Zuckerberg said Meta will focus on “efficiency” going forward. He added that last year’s layoffs and an ongoing reorganization “surprised” him as they not only cut costs, but also improved communication and progress on future products. Susan Li, Meta’s new CFO, said on the call that losses from Reality Labs will “continue” in 2023 because it is a “long duration investment.” Previously, Zuckerberg has said several times over the last year that spending on the metaverse was about fortifying the future of Meta, formerly known as Facebook, as well as the “future of the internet,” and that building the metaverse would prove historic. http://bit.ly/3l7rCX4

Google invests US$300 million in OpenAI rival Anthropic.

Google has invested roughly US$300 million in Anthropic, an AI startup founded in 2021 by former OpenAI employees, in exchange for a 10% stake in the company, according to the Financial Times. As part of the deal, Anthropic will have to use the money to purchase computing resources from Google Cloud. The structure of the deal is similar to that of Microsoft’s investment in OpenAI, which gave the startup credits to use on its Azure cloud-computing platform. Google has also reportedly held talks about investing in another AI startup, Cohere, with which it has an existing cloud partnership. It can cost millions to train machine-learning models on large amounts of data, making a partnership with a cloud provider an attractive deal for an AI startup. The investment will also bring Google closer to a pool of top AI talent as Microsoft deepens its ties with OpenAI. Anthropic’s language model, Claude, is widely seen as a potential rival to technology created by OpenAI and Google. https://tinyurl.com/2p8n7djx

Berkshire Hathaway has cashed in at least US$300 million in Tesla rival BYD stock in the past month – as Warren Buffett’s 14-year bet continues to pay off.

Berkshire Hathaway cashed in at least US$300 million of stocks in Chinese EV maker BYD last month, as it continues to cut its 14-year holding in Tesla’s main Asian rival. Warren Buffett’s investment firm announced in a Hong Kong Stock Exchange filing that it had sold off 1,554,500 shares in BYD on January 27, dropping its stake in the EV maker from 13.97% to 12.9%. Those numbers, however, don’t fully capture Berkshire Hathaway’s BYD stock sales over January, because the company only has to file when a transaction changes its percentage stake by a whole number. Data from the filing suggests a total 11,714,858 drop in Berkshire’s BYD shares since its last announcement on January 3. The current value of Berkshire’s holdings in BYD stands at around US$4.7 billion, signaling a sizable gain on its initial investment of US$232 million more than 14 years ago. The carmaker represents a small fraction of Berkshire’s total portfolio. http://bit.ly/3X28XcG

Crypto-linked stocks are on a tear, with Coinbase, MicroStrategy, and others up more than 100% in a month as risk appetite returns.

Crypto-linked stocks are on a tear this month as risk appetite grows on wagers that high inflation may be in the rearview mirror. And four companies in particular have stood out, after more than doubling since the start of the year. Crypto exchange Coinbase surged 143% in the past month to US$81.76 on Friday, notching prices not seen since last September. The stock spiked 26% on Thursday after a judge dismissed a proposed class-action lawsuit against the crypto exchange. MicroStrategy, which has bought up 132,500 bitcoin since August 2020, shot up 102% in the past month as well. Meanwhile, crypto mining companies Marathon Digital and Riot Platforms are up 130% and 127%, respectively, in the past month. Crypto markets are also notching gains right now. Bitcoin and ethereum surged more than 30% in the past month, according to Messari, as the industry’s market value settles above US$1 trillion. https://tinyurl.com/yckaswjs

Amazon sees AWS slowdown lasting for several quarters.

Amazon said revenue in its cloud unit rose 20% to US$21.4 billion in the fourth quarter, the slowest growth since at least 2014 when it started breaking out Amazon Web Services results – and warned that the cloud business would likely remain sluggish through the coming year. Amazon’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said on a call with reporters that AWS had seen “continued slowness” so far in 2023 and that the company expects to “to see some slower growth rates for the next few quarters.” The slowdown for AWS, long Amazon’s key profit driver, came as the company’s e-commerce business shrank 2% in the quarter. Amazon’s overall revenue rose 9% to US$149.2 billion in the quarter, and the company said it expects first-quarter revenue of between US$121 billion and US$126 billion, or 4% to 8% growth compared with the same period a year earlier. Amazon shares fell more than 4% in after-hours trading. https://tinyurl.com/bps2keva

Salesforce reveals more layoffs, App Marketplace chief steps down.

Salesforce has internally revealed another round of job cuts as part the plan it announced in early January to part ways with about 10% of its global workforce, a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement. Insider reported that around 4,000 employees are no longer listed in Salesforce’s companywide Slack channel and that the job cuts primarily affected salespeople. This shows how Salesforce is responding to slowing revenue growth and pressure from activist investors Elliott Management and Starboard Value to make changes to boost its business performance. As part of this effort, Salesforce last week named three new directors to its board and announced that two veteran members would be departing. In another sign of management changes at Salesforce, Woodson Martin, an 18-year Salesforce executive vice president who leads AppExchange, its online software marketplace, has stepped down from that role, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. The Salesforce spokesperson said Martin has moved into an advisory role for AppExchange and is no longer a full-time employee. Patrick Stokes, executive vice president and general manager of platform, has taken on Martin’s role as AppExchange chief and Salesforce has yet to name his replacement, according to the spokesperson. https://tinyurl.com/2s3utzm3

PayPal to lay off 2,000 employees in coming weeks, about 7% of workforce.

PayPal on Tuesday announced plans to lay off 2,000 employees, or around 7% of its workforce, according to a release posted to the company’s website. PayPal stock closed up 2% Tuesday. The company’s layoffs announcement marks the latest round of job cuts in the tech industry, as Workday also announced plans to cut 525 jobs Tuesday. Earlier this month, Google announced plans to lay off more than 12,000 workers, Microsoft announced plans to cut 10,000 employees and Salesforce announced plans to lay off 7,000 workers. In its third-quarter earnings report, PayPal beat on earnings and revenue expectations, but shares slid after the company’s Q4 revenue estimate came in behind analysts’ expectations. But PayPal raised EPS guidance for the full fiscal year, saying it’s benefited from “ongoing productivity initiatives.” PayPal is slated to report fourth-quarter earnings after the bell on Feb. 9. http://bit.ly/3YiOUHR

Sony slashes PlayStation VR2 headset output after pre-orders disappoint.

Sony Group Corp. reduced projections for the initial launch of its PlayStation VR2 headset dramatically after early pre-orders disappointed, signaling little improvement for the hyped-but-unproven virtual reality sector. The company halved its forecast for shipments of the PSVR2, which is set for a Feb. 22 release, this quarter to about a million units, said people familiar with its deliberations. Sony had previously aimed to have 2 million headsets ready for the launch quarter and leverage its second-generation headset to drive user growth and adoption for VR. http://bit.ly/3Y1CynN

Apple and Google face mounting pressure to remove TikTok from app stores.

Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) demanded that Apple and Google “immediately” remove TikTok from their app stores in a letter addressed to the companies’ chief executives, Tim Cook and Sundar Pichai, Thursday. Bennet’s push to restrict downloads of the app is just the latest in a series of mounting congressional actions to ban the embattled Chinese-owned app. Since January, Republicans and Democrats have been calling for either their colleagues or Biden administration officials to quickly impose stricter data collection restrictions or a nationwide ban on the app, citing its possible risks to US national security. “TikTok’s vast influence and aggressive data collection pose a specific threat to US national security because of its parent company’s obligations under Chinese law,” Bennet wrote. “Given these grave and growing concerns, I ask that you remove TikTok from your respective app stores immediately.” http://bit.ly/3Yk7pvz

Amazon may be target of antitrust suit as FTC reviews practices deemed anticompetitive.

The Federal Trade Commission is preparing a possible antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.com Inc. , the Wall Street Journal reported Friday, citing people familiar with the matter. The suit could challenge many of the tech giant’s business practices as being anticompetitive, the people said. Amazon officials have not yet had meetings with FTC commissioners to argue against any suit, but the agency has been reviewing the company’s practices to determine whether it favors its own products over competitors’ on its platform, and how it treats third-party sellers on Amazon.com, some of the people said. Amazon and the FTC declined to comment to the paper. Amazon stock is down 4.4% Friday, after it reportedits least profitable holiday quarter since 2014 late Thursday and biggest annual loss on record, along with a forecast miss. https://tinyurl.com/4m5n76pt

iRobot share price slides amid scrutiny of Amazon buyout.

Amazon’s acquisition of iRobot could be in trouble, if the Roomba maker’s stock price is any indication. iRobot shares are trading more than a quarter below Amazon’s proposed buyout price as investors weigh whether regulators in the U.S. and Europe will challenge the buyout. Under the terms of the deal announced in August, Amazon wants to acquire iRobot for US$61 per share in cash. During the week immediately following the announcement, iRobot shares consistently traded above US$59, representing a roughly 3% spread, which is standard in announced merger deals. But iRobot shares have dropped steadily since last fall and were trading at US$45.30 early Tuesday, about 25.7% below Amazon’s proposed buyout price. The drop likely reflects growing worries that the Federal Trade Commission in the U.S. and Competition and Markets Authority in the U.K. may challenge the deal. Amazon’s other major pending deal, its US$3.9 billion buyout of OneMedical, appears to be in somewhat better shape. OneMedical shares were trading at $15.99 early Tuesday, 11.2% below Amazon’s buyout price of US$18 per share. The spread is still significantly wider than what’s typical for a deal that’s expected to go through, however. https://tinyurl.com/mkkk2tsr

Musk found not liable in ‘Funding Secured’ Tesla trial. A San Francisco jury found Elon Musk not liable in a trial over whether Tesla CEO Elon Musk committed securities fraud in 2018 by tweeting that he had “funding secured” to take the electric vehicle company private. The jury’s verdict brought an end to the three week trial to decide whether Musk, Tesla and the company’s board of directors were responsible for millions of dollars in investor losses stemming from a dramatic swing in Tesla’s stock price. That swing occurred after Musk failed to follow through on a statement, expressed in a tweet, that he would take Tesla private at US$420 a share. https://tinyurl.com/yzs2um6c

Emerging Technologies

ChatGPT may be the fastest-growing consumer app in internet history, reaching 100 million users in just over 2 months, UBS report says.

ChatGPT may have become the fastest-growing app in history after it was estimated to have reached 100 million monthly active users, or MAUs, by the end of January, a report by Swiss banking giant UBS said. The OpenAI-owned chatbot has surpassed 100 million MAUs just over two months after its launch — comfortably beating the growth speeds of major apps like TikTok and Instagram, according to the UBS note, which Insider has viewed. It took TikTok nine months to reach the same level of users; Instagram took two and half years; and Spotify only amassed 100 million MAUs after four and a half years, the report said, citing data from data analytics firm Similar Web. On Wednesday, OpenAI introduced a US$20 per month subscription plan called ChatGPT Plus, which will allow users to access the platform at all times, as well as receiving faster responses from the chatbot.  http://bit.ly/3HS9Pw5

China’s Baidu to launch ChatGPT-style bot in March – source.

Chinese internet search major Baidu Inc is planning to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot service similar to OpenAI’s ChatGPT in March, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters. The technology firm plans to launch the service as a standalone application and gradually merge it into its search engine, said the person, who declined to be identified as the information is confidential. Chatbots in China currently focus on social interaction whereas ChatGPT performs better at more professional tasks, such as programming and essay writing. Baidu plans to incorporate chatbot-generated results when users make search requests, instead of only links, the person said. Beijing-based Baidu has been investing heavily in AI technology, including in cloud services, chips and autonomous driving, as it looks to diversify its revenue sources. At a developer conference last month, Baidu unveiled three AI-powered “creators” whose technology allows them to assume the roles of screenwriter, illustrator, editor or animator. https://tinyurl.com/3fk9wpjt

Foldable iPad could arrive as early as next year, claims noted Apple analyst.

Apple could be on track to release a foldable iPad as early as next year, according to supply chain analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Kuo expects it to be joined by a revamped iPad Mini, due to enter mass production in early 2024. A 2024 release date is significantly earlier than the last significant foldable iPad prediction, which came from Display Supply Chain Consultant analyst Ross Young last February. He reported that Apple is developing a foldable iPad/MacBook hybrid with a roughly 20-inch folding screen, but anticipated that it won’t be ready for release until 2026. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman later reported that Apple has been exploring a dual-screen foldable, and added that the bottom half of the display would serve as a virtual keyboard when the device is used as a MacBook-style clamshell. Kuo expects the next iPad that Apple releases to be the iPad Mini. He thinks a new model will enter production in the first quarter of 2024, succeeding its last refresh in 2021. http://bit.ly/3Rrtk1Q

Media, Streaming, Gaming & Sports Betting

YouTube Shorts surpassed 50 billion daily views, a bright spot for Alphabet as it faces fierce competition from TikTok and declining ad revenue.

YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion daily views, up from 30 billion a year ago, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said during its fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday. Shorts’ growth was a rare bright spot for a quarter where Alphabet saw declining revenue in segments like Search, YouTube, and advertising. YouTube in particular saw its second quarter in a row of declining revenue from this time the previous year as it faces fierce competition from TikTok. YouTube generated just under $8 billion in revenue, down from $8.6 billion in revenue this time last year. Like other tech giants suffering from slumping ad revenue, Alphabet attributed the decline to a pullback in spend from advertisers over concerns of a looming recession. The announcement of strong Shorts viewership comes just a day after YouTube enabled creators to share advertising revenue from short-form videos with the company. http://bit.ly/3Hw9m1e

EU weighs proposal to charge data-heavy streamers for telecom upgrades.

The European Union is weighing a proposal to make technology companies that use the most bandwidth, like Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc., to help pay for the next generation of internet infrastructure, according to a draft document seen by Bloomberg. The suggestions are part of a “fair-share” vision from the EU’s executive arm that could require large tech businesses, which provide streaming videos and other data-heavy services, to help pay for the traffic they generate. The draft document, which is part of a consultation with the industry, suggested firms might contribute to a fund to offset the cost of building 5G mobile networks and fiber infrastructure, as well as the creation of a mandatory system of direct payments from tech giants to telecom operators. The commission also asked companies whether there should be a threshold that would qualify a company to be a “large traffic generator,” the document showed. That could be similar to the European governing body’s rules designating some tech companies “gatekeepers” and “very large online platforms” in its recent competition and online content rules. A concrete proposal is still a ways off, although it’s already generated controversy. The EU’s electronic communications regulator found in October that there is “no evidence” that platforms like Netflix or YouTube should pay telecom companies to invest in internet infrastructure and said such a move could cause “significant harm to the internet ecosystem.” The consultation — which will remain open for two to three months — is the first concrete step toward a plan. A European Commission spokesman declined to comment. https://tinyurl.com/u8ctsdzf

TikTok CEO to testify before Congress.

TikTok CEO Shouzi Chew will testify before the U.S. Congress in March to face mounting national security concerns over the Chinese-owned video app. The March 23 hearing of the U.S. Energy and Commerce Committee will be Chew’s first appearance before a U.S. Congressional committee. According to the committee’s statement, Chew will testify about the app’s user privacy and data security, its impact on children, and TikTok’s relationship with the Chinese Communist Party. TikTok, whose parent company ByteDance is one of China’s biggest internet giants, is facing rising political risks in America. The House Foreign Affairs Committee plans to hold a vote next month on a new bill to ban TikTok. The U.S. has already banned the app from federal government-owned devices, while many states have also banned it on state government-owned devices. In response, the company has launched a public relations offensive, meeting with Washington D.C. think tanks, lawmakers and others to present its case that it is taking enough steps to safeguard Americans’ user data. https://tinyurl.com/3nxym5dk

Fintech, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency

Britain sets out plans to regulate crypto industry in wake of FTX collapse.

The U.K. formally laid out plans to regulate the cryptocurrency industry, with the government looking to rein in some of the reckless business practices that emerged over the past year and contributed to the demise of FTX. In a widely-anticipated industry consultation launched Tuesday, the government proposed a number of measures aimed at bringing regulation of crypto asset businesses in line with that of traditional financial firms. Among the proposals unveiled Tuesday was a move that would strengthen rules targeting financial intermediaries and custodians that store crypto on behalf of clients. A big theme that emerged in 2022 was the rise of risky loans made between multiple crypto firms and a lack of due diligence done on the counterparties involved in those transactions. The U.K. proposals would crack down on such activities, seeking to establish a “robust world-first regime strengthening rules around the lending of cryptoassets, whilst enhancing consumer protection and the operational resilience of firms,” according to a statement out late Tuesday. http://bit.ly/3Rve5oz

Sorare teams up with the Premier League for its NFT fantasy football game.

French startup Sorare has signed a four-year licensing partnership with the Premier League. This is an important move for the company as the English football league is one of the most-watched sports leagues in the world. Each card is registered as a unique token on the Ethereum blockchain. Sorare players can buy and sell cards from other players. They can then put together a lineup of five players and earn points based on real-life performances. Sorare frequently issues new cards on the platforms that users can buy to add to their personal collections – that’s how the company generates revenue, It raised a gigantic US$680 million Series B round and signed partnerships with many clubs and football organizations, including Spain’s LaLiga, Germany’s Bundesliga and Italy’s Serie A. The Premier League is a nice addition to this list of organizations. With the new partnership with the Premier League, Sorare users will find all 20 clubs on the platform. There will also be league-specific competitions. http://bit.ly/3Y06YH8


Ford discounts its all-electric Mustang Mach-E in response to Tesla’s EV price war.

Ford said Monday it has increased production and cut the price of its all-electric Mustang Mach-E crossover, the latest automaker to join an EV price war started by Tesla. Ford Mustang Mach-E vehicles are now between about 1% to 8.8% lower, depending on the trim level, according to the company, which emphasized that the discounts are possible now that its new EV supply chain is coming online and production is “significantly increasing.” “We are not going to cede ground to anyone..,” Marin Gjaja, the chief customer officer of Ford Model e, said in a statement. Tesla has discounted its vehicles, or offered credits, at least four times in the past several months, kicking off what many in the industry have dubbed an EV price war. Tesla reduced prices for Chinese buyers in January by nearly 14% and as much as 20% for vehicles sold in North America. http://bit.ly/3XZSdnL

TravelCenters of America to add EV fast-charger stations.

TravelCenters of America and Electrify America LLC plan to build around 1,000 electric-vehicle fast chargers across the U.S. starting this year, the latest matchup that would boost the amount of equipment available to American EV drivers who need a jolt of power on road trips. The partnership aims to add fast-charging stalls to around 200 of TravelCenters’ TA and Petro Stopping Centers. Fast chargers available to drivers of any kind of EV are in short supply across U.S. highways, where their presence is considered key to greater EV adoption as auto makers convert fleets to electric. Many fuel retailers have been reluctant to invest in chargers because there aren’t enough EVs on the road yet for most locations to turn a profit, but U.S. electric-vehicle sales jumped in 2022 while the broader auto market contracted. The TravelCenters-Electrify America investment represents one of the largest EV fast-charging build-outs in the U.S. today. Ohio-based TA operates one of the nation’s largest full-service truck-stop networks, selling diesel and gasoline and offering restaurants and stores along highways. https://tinyurl.com/y6wkf36w

New China rule threatens to disrupt U.S. solar ambitions.

A plan by China to restrict exports of key solar manufacturing technology could delay attempts to build up a domestic solar supply chain in the U.S., industry experts say. China’s Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of Science and Technology are considering adding advanced technology used in the production of ingots and wafers, some of the building blocks of solar panels, to a list of technologies that are subject to export controls. China currently accounts for nearly all of solar ingot and wafer production globally, as well as much of the equipment used in the manufacturing process—especially for the large-scale solar panels that increasingly dominate the market, industry experts say. The proposed change was among dozens of potential revisions to China’s export control list that are intended “to strengthen the management of technology import and export,” according to a Chinese government announcement issued in late December. Beijing has solicited public comment on the proposed change but hasn’t said publicly when it would make a decision. The Chinese commerce and technology regulators didn’t respond to requests for comment. If the plan is adopted, Chinese solar manufacturers would be required to obtain a license from their provincial commerce authorities to export such technologies. https://tinyurl.com/2p95j243


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