Updated Nov 3, 2019

PayPal CEO: "I wouldn't single out China" on threatening our values

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman has stared down death threats for taking tough social stances, but in entering China, the PayPal CEO could find the biggest challenge yet to his values.

Why it matters: Other companies have gone into China thinking that they could access the giant market without having to compromise their values. At some point, most of them were forced to choose one or the other.

Pressed on the issue, Schulman told "Axios on HBO" he isn't worried.

  • "Every country around the world has issues," Schulman said. "We need to navigate those in the way that we feel is most consistent with our values and most consistent with our mission. Not easy to always go do, but I wouldn't single out China versus any other country."

Between the lines: Schulman has certainly been willing to take stands here in the U.S., throwing white supremacists off PayPal's service and pulling a planned expansion into North Carolina after that state passed a law that severely limited transgender rights.

  • But China isn't the U.S. or other countries, as the NBA was just the latest to have made painfully clear.

Meanwhile: Schulman also discussed the future of digital payments and the controversial privacy practices of Venmo, the company's fast-growing peer-to-peer payment unit.

  • So, is cash dead? "I think cash is gonna be with us for a long time. But I do think it's inevitable — that all forms of money are going to eventually digitize."
  • Why are Venmo transactions public by default? "I think the boundaries between private and public are much more blurred than we're — than it was when we were growing up. To that generation, and we shouldn't put our values or our judgment on it, sharing and understanding what their friends are doing and what's important to their friends is incredibly reinforcing."

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Why it matters: The offline and online payments worlds are increasingly converging. Apple, for example, has introduced the Apple Card to go along with Apple Pay.

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Why it matters: It's PayPal's largest-ever acquisition, and the largest-ever purchase of a Los Angeles-based tech startup.

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The threat of a U.S.-China "tech Cold War"

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What he's saying: "Beijing is building a separate system of Chinese technology — its own standards, infrastructure, and supply chains — to compete with the West," Bremmer said. "Make no mistake: This is the single most consequential geopolitical decision taken in the last three decades."

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