* The U.S. is set to impose new rules to restrict the global supply of chips to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. after President Donald Trump's senior cabinet officials reportedly agreed to such measures against the Chinese company, Reuters reports, citing sources familiar with knowledge of the matter. The proposed change would force foreign companies that use U.S. chipmaking equipment to acquire a U.S. license before supplying certain chips to Huawei.
* The Philippines wants Netflix Inc. to cut its streaming bit rate to ease data cramming during the monthlong lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic, Nikkei Asian Review reports. The country's National Telecommunications Commission said the step will help free up bandwidth in the wake of increased demand by subscribers that could overload network capacity during the quarantine period.
* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd.'s social music streaming app, Resso, struck a music licensing deal with India's Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. to access Shemaroo's music catalog, The Economic Times (India) reports. Under the deal, users can access over 25,000 songs by subscribing to Resso at a monthly premium subscription of 99 Indian rupees for Android and 119 rupees for iOS.
* Asia-Pacific box office revenues fell 85% year over year in the first two months of 2020, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence and OPUSData, as the coronavirus caused theater closures and a sharp drop in the number of releases. China was the worst hit, with an estimated 96.2% decline year over year in January and February.
* Sony Corp. announced a plan to establish an intermediate holding company, Sony Electronics Corp., effective April 1. The new holding company will incorporate three businesses that comprise its electronics products and solutions segment, including imaging products and solutions, home entertainment and sound, and mobile communications. The holding company will also incorporate related global sales and marketing, manufacturing, logistics, procurement and engineering platforms.
* Japanese internet provider Internet Initiative Japan Inc. promoted executive officer Seiji Okita to managing executive officer, division director of professional services, Telecompaper reports. The company also appointed Koichi Kitamura as senior managing executive officer, effective April 1, and Shigeo Yabuki as the company's executive officer.
* Hyundai Autoever Corp. signed a business agreement with Cisco Systems Inc. to develop "smart building and smart factory" technology, ZDNet Korea reports. The two companies will collaborate on establishing a digital database via the internet of things and networks in buildings or factories. Hyundai Autoever will devise a business model to implement the technology.
* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. postponed the IPO plan of its subsidiaries due to the coronavirus outbreak, ZDNet Korea reports. CEO Park Jung-ho disclosed in a shareholders meeting that all the planned IPO of subsidiary companies, including that of SK Broadband, will be postponed to 2021.
GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN MARKETS)
* The U.S. Department of Commerce Bureau of Industry and Security extended the public comment period on the temporary license extensions granted to Huawei and its non-U.S. affiliates through April 22. The bureau is seeking input on the continuing need for, and scope of, possible future extensions of the temporary general license for the Chinese company.
* In other Huawei news, the company is planning to increase its research and development budget to more than US$20 billion, an increase of US$5.8 billion, CEO Ren Zhengfei told The Wall Street Journal. Zhengfei also revealed that Huawei resumed some of its operations starting Feb. 3, while more than 90% of its approximate 150,000 China-based workforce is now back to work.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-owned e-commerce marketplace Taobao introduced a new platform to help factories digitalize their operations in China, South China Morning Post reports, citing a company statement. The initiative will allow companies to manage raw materials and product inventories based on specific consumer distribution, preferences and behavioral data.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* Pakistan Telecommunication Authority said there is sufficient internet capacity to cope with the growing demand in the country during the country-wide lockdown aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic. The regulator said the country witnessed a 15% hike in internet usage since the week of March 16 driven mainly due to the increased online activities by educational institutions and businesses as well as work from home policy adopted by various organizations.
* The Indian government is set to roll out a "Covid tracker app," which will be available in English and all major Indian languages, according to The Economic Times (India). The app will use the user's phone number and the location data of the smartphone in order to match the user's movements with the Indian Council of Medical Research data on the backend.
* Bibhu Prasad Rath will step down as CEO of Ortel Communications Ltd., effective April 3, the company disclosed in a regulatory filing.
* Thailand's True Corp. will triple the capacity of its fiber, broadband, mobile and cable TV networks to cope with a surge in web traffic during the coronavirus outbreak, Krungthep Turakij reports. The move will cover 3G, 4G and 5G networks, and the surge capacity will be monitored by a 24/7 engineering support team.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission received requests for aid ranging between 3 billion baht and 4 billion baht from local hospitals and public health agencies fighting the coronavirus pandemic, Manager reports. The NBTC previously stated that it would earmark 1 billion baht from its 2020 budget to assist hospitals financially. The commission is now considering assisting the medical response teams through network equipment and other resources.
* Indonesian telco PT Smartfren Telecom Tbk launched a video communication platform in partnership with Zoom Video Communications Inc., Bisnis reports. The platform provides cloud-based conferencing solution that is accessible from various devices.
* Chinese smartphone-maker Xiaomi Corp. plans to launch a new smartphone in Indonesia, Hitekno reports. The launch will be broadcast live April 2.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* TPG Telecom Ltd. received required consents from the Committee for Foreign Investment in the U.S. and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission regarding its proposed merger with Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty. Ltd. The approvals authorize the proposed change of control relating to TPG's submarine cable between Sydney and Guam.
Data Dispatch: Coronavirus forces companies to consider permanent policies, culture change: "The Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Coronavirus Flash Survey March 2020" conducted by 451 Research finds companies across sectors are considering changes that could outlast the immediate threat of the virus.
Economics of Advertising: Super Bowl displays TV ratings dominance in February: There was an abundance of live TV events in February, but no other telecast came close to the huge viewership delivered by FOX's coverage of Super Bowl LIV, according to our analysis of Comscore's TV Essentials data.
John Chan, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Patrick Tibke contributed to this report.
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