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Ant Financial who is the owner of China’s Alipay, has just become a force to be reckoned with when it comes to tech stocks in the payment processing industry. Ant Financial is now worth a whopping $60 billion. That makes it bigger than rival PayPal.

The valuation has been based on a new fundraising round that was just completed by Ant Financial where investors pledged $4.5 billion in what the company has stated, was “the largest ever private placement by an Internet company.”

Other tech stocks like PayPal, in comparison, is “only” worth about $48 billion, according to FactSet data. Ant Financial is expecting to use the new funds in order to “expand access to financial services in China’s rural areas, while also fueling the company’s globalization.”

The company is actually (come to find out) an affiliate of China’s e-commerce and tech sector giant Alibaba (hence the “AliPay” moniker), and it hasn’t been shy about its ambitions since launching in 2014. It’s hinted at a stock market listing, and has already expanded into India.

Ant Financial first began as Alipay, which was an online platform that processes payments for Alibaba websites Taobao and Tmall. Alipay has continued to be Ant’s biggest asset, but the company has been adding even more offerings, including a credit rating service, an internet bank that lends money to small businesses, and even a money market fund. Existing Ant Financial shareholders including insurance firm China Life, China Post Group, and China Development Bank Capital dove head first into this latest funding round. Additional investors include organizations led by China Investment Corp. Capital, and CCB Trust, which is a subsidiary of one of China’s largest banks.

Last month Ant Financial was supposedly in consideration of an acquisition of Caixin, a respected Chinese financial media group. Reports show that Ant declined to comment but also came just a few months after Alibaba announcedit was buying Hong Kong newspaper, South China Morning Post.

It’s been over ten years since the first “revolution” in wireless charging came about and this long after, that revolution has yet to materialize.  In 2006 Ran Poliakine had envisioned a world where millions of people would be able to go about their every day lives all while effortlessly being able to charge electronic devices without the need for a wall socket.

Since widespread adoption still has yet to take hold, many technology stock companies are working to invest in some kind of alternative that wouldn’t involve being connected to a cord.  Research from the University of Missouri shows this affliction can increase our stress levels, and lead to serious psychological harm. Researchers say when separated from our phone during a corded charging phase “we experience a lessening of ‘self’ and a negative physiological state”.

“So many off-grid households in East Africa told us light is nice to have, but mobile phones are now a necessity.”

Radhika Thakkar, VP of global business development for the company.

Many tech companies have researched this further in order to try to find solutions but unfortunately many involved the use of a charging cord in some shape or form.  Even battery life extenders need to be charged before they can pass the charge onto the end user: the mobile phone.

It never used to be like this – in the old days, when mobiles just made calls, keeping charged was easy. Your handset might have looked and felt like a heavy brick, but it also had power for at least three days.

Now keeping your phone in the “green zone” can drive people to the most agile of feats – standing on tiptoes to reach an unusually high socket at an airport, squatting on the floor in a public toilet, or maneuvering wires underneath a sea of tables in a coffee shop.

The closest thing, Mophie, has created a cell phone case that acts as more of a battery life extender than anything else.  The tech company was just tapped by Zagg for a $100,000,000 buyout making it one of the first big acquisitions of its kind in the mobile charging space.  This could soon spark a new trend for innovators to dive into the uncharted waters with similar hopes at an opportunity to be purchased for a 9 figure sum. Certainly something Tech Stock Insider will be following as the story unfolds.


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The Department of Justice and the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission approved Charter Communications’ $78 billion takeover of Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion purchase of Bright House Networks. The government agencies included multiple conditions to the actual approval, however and the full FCC still needs to cast their ballot in order to accept chairman Tom Wheeler’s suggestion. Regardless, the vote is understood as a formality in this case.

Once the deal is secured, Charter will stand next to other tech sector companies like Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon as a media juggernaut molding the future of television-watching and web-surfing. “We are pleased to reach this critical step in the regulatory review of our merger with Charter,” said Time Warner Cable CEO Rob Marcus, “and remain optimistic that the transaction will be finalized soon.”

The entire arrangement was drawn up almost a year ago, after Comcast’s bid to combine with Time Warner Cable fell apart based on the strong stance that Washington took on the transaction, in opposition of it. This time the same regulators were more supportive of Charter’s bid for Time Warner Cable — but again there were important caveats.

Charter will not be allowed to put data caps in place or sharge customers based on usage, the two agencies said in a statement on Monday. On top of this, the company will not be able to charge internet content providers fees for connecting them to customers. These conditions will apply for a period of seven years in order to “focus on removing unfair barriers to video competition,” the statement said.

Charter’s CEO, Tom Rutledge, will handle the enlarged company. He first had thought the deal would be approved by the end of 2015, but the process has taken quite some time. Now Charter is targeting a mid- to late-May completion date. Along with the FCC vote, the company still needs approval from the California’s Public Utilities Commission. A vote is scheduled for May 12.

“We are pleased that Chairman Wheeler has submitted the proposed conditions for consideration by the full Commission and that the DOJ has submitted its agreement for approval by the court,” Rutledge said in a statement.

“The conditions that will be imposed ensure Charter’s current consumer-friendly and pro-broadband businesses practices will be maintained by New Charter,” he said.

The deal will affect one in six American households and Charter is expected to retire, or at least downplay, the Time Warner and Bright House brand names. Charter already promotes its products with the brand name Spectrum, and it will be extending that name to its new markets.  This take-over could soon become a major catalyst to echo across the technology space to make 2016 Technology Stocks a thing to watch

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It would seem odd to even think of a world that you can actually get “beamed up”. Similar to the Star Trek “mass transit”, that transportation method might not be that far from reality. According to William Shatner, a world full of the sci-fi technology we saw in Star Trek is “not that far-fetched.”

During a panel on the “plausibility of science fiction concepts” at Smithsonian magazine’s “Future Is Here” festival, the man better known for his role as Captain Kirk addressed the audience about how much of what we have seen from the Star Trek series may be “not so out of this world.”

“It’s not that far-fetched,” Shatner said. “Although a lot of the concepts in science fiction are absurd to our Newtonian minds, anything is possible because of the new language of quantum physics.”

But think about it…much of the high tech we saw in Star Trek so many years ago has already entered into our everyday lives in the 50 years since premiering:
Kirk’s communicator

Uhura’s bluetooth

Even the Enterprise’s automatic sliding doors seemed revolutionary

Now the importance of smartphones and automatic doors make these pieces of technology seem ancient. According to Shatner, the military has even based some of their vessels on the Enterprise’s design.

“The Navy did come in and look at some of the ergonomics of the bridge, and apparently copied it,” he said. “A captain of a vessel not too long ago [said] some of the bridge stuff on his ship was designed after what our designers had [done].”

But what about teleportation; one of the shows most famous means of transportation? Of course, we don’t currently have a technology that allows human beings to send eachother through space in a single instant, but Mr. Shatner seems optimistic that science is achieving even more advances in that realm of research.

“Can you transport all the molecules in a human being? Apparently, it’s impossible. Can you transport a replica of that person? Possible, but the amount of computer energy and space is overwhelming,” Shatner explained.

Technologically speaking, we’re still not done exploring the final frontier just yet.

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