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Apple considers joining SoftBank fund; Honda partners with Grab


* Apple Inc. held talks about investing up to US$1 billion in SoftBank Group Corp.'s US$100 billion technology fund, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. By investing, Apple reportedly is looking for insights on emerging technologies. A source said the status of the talks is unclear, and nothing has been finalized.

* Honda Motor Co. Ltd. made an undisclosed investment in Southeast Asian ride-hailing company Grab with plans to collaborate on its GrabBike motorcycle-hailing service. Singapore-based Grab said the partnership will also extend to driver education programs and initiatives to address urban traffic issues.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder and executive chairman Jack Ma joined the tech names backing Breakthrough Energy Ventures, a US$1 billion fund that will invest in clean energy technology. The 20-year fund, led by Microsoft Corp.'s Bill Gates, includes other tech leaders such as Reliance Industries Ltd.'s Mukesh Ambani, Virgin Group Ltd.'s Richard Branson, Netflix Inc.'s Reed Hastings and SoftBank's Masayoshi Son.


* The first original series by subscription video-on-demand service Hooq is slated to premiere in the first quarter of 2017. "OTJ: The Missing 8" is based on Erik Matti's 2013 Filipino crime drama film "On the Job," and is centered around the investigation into the massacre of eight journalists. Hooq will make the series available to subscribers in the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and India.

* Finland wants Russia to participate in the 10,500-kilometer Northeast Passage fiber-optic cable project between Asia and Europe, Helsingin Sanomat reports.


* Universal Studios Japan announced that it will open a Nintendo-themed area of the park, to be called Super Nintendo World, before the start of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo in 2020. The companies will invest more than ¥50 billion in the project in Osaka, exceeding the ¥45 billion Universal Studios spent on the Harry Potter-themed land that opened in 2014.

* Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. will repurchase 1.62% of its outstanding shares, up to 33 million shares of common stock for an aggregate repurchase amount of up to ¥150 billion from Dec. 13, 2016, to June 30, 2017. With the move, the company seeks to improve capital efficiency and enhance shareholder returns.


* The South Korean Supreme Court banned LG Uplus Corp. from bidding for public sector business for three months, Digital Times reports. In 2012, the Ministry of National Defense listed LG as an "unlawful company" for bribing an official. LG filed a lawsuit to appeal the charge, but lost the case.

* South Korean terrestrial TV broadcasters are postponing the launch of UHD services, which were scheduled to begin in February 2017, Dailian reports. The broadcasters acquired a 700 MHz frequency for UHD service in the government's favor, despite objections from the country's major telcos.


* LeEco bought a 900,000 square meters of land in Deqing, Zhejiang province, for 279 million Chinese yuan, Caixin reports. The tech company plans to build a facility to manufacture electric cars.

* China Unionpay Co. Ltd. issued a QR code standard for mobile payments initiated by bank card apps, as well as Unionpay's own app QuickPass. Betting on security, Unionpay expects this will help it compete against its two biggest rivals, Alipay and WeChat Pay.

* Mobile operator 3 Hong Kong, a division of Hutchison Telecommunications, launched a security service targeted at businesses. Called Check Point Mobile Threat Prevention Solution, the service allows companies to monitor and protect their information while on the move.


* Telenor ASA may have signed defective leases for base stations in Thailand, Aftenposten reports. Telenor CEO Sigve Brekke has not confirmed if the base station contracts were signed when he sat on Thai mobile operator Dtac's board. Telenor owns 42% of Dtac's shares.

* Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith visited Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s R&D Center in Beijing during a state trip to China, Asia News Network reports. Thongloun reportedly discussed a long-term ICT collaboration between Huawei and Laos, encouraging cooperation and knowledge sharing between the Chinese tech giant, Laotian government agencies and telecom operators.

* Indonesian telco PT Indosat Tbk, or Indosat Ooredoo, expanded the business of Cipika Play, its over-the-top online gaming subsidiary, Detik reports. Cipika Play will become a game publisher and form partnerships with international developers to distribute their games in Indonesia.

* The Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw), a legal monitoring agency in Thailand, sought opposition to the country's proposed Computer Crime Act, which has raised rights concerns, Prachachat reports. In a message posted on the group's Facebook page, iLaw urged followers to condemn the bill via social media channels, and to help build a campaign to overturn the bill should it be ratified by parliament.

* Philippine radio broadcaster Bombo Radyo Philippines bought 11 FM transmitters and 13 AM transmitters from U.S. electronics manufacturer GatesAir after five months of consultation and negotiation, Radio World reports.

* Singtel launched an online gift shop platform for its mobile services, the Singapore Business Review reports. It allows Singtel subscribers to shop and send data packages, music and newsstand content to other users.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service revealed plans to attract at least 450,000 new teenage customers in 2017, Krungthep Turakij reports. Pratthana Leelapanang, the telco's chief marketing officer, said the AIS Play app will play a crucial role in attracting younger subscribers with its range of digital content, including live broadcasts and TV series.

* In other AIS news, the company will aim to make up for its loss of 7-Eleven mobile service top-up card sales by expanding its AIS Buddy refill points to one per district and offering incentives for online top-ups, Thai Rath reports. AIS also plans to upgrade 250 of its small-scale Telewiz stores to become fully-equipped AIS Shop customer service centers by the end of 2019.

* Food delivery service Foodpanda appointed Aspa Lekka as the new managing director for its Singapore operations, shortly after the announced acquisition of the Germany-based company by rival service Delivery Hero, The Drum reports.


* Brisbane-based Nightlife Music is collaborating with Spotify Ltd. on an app called crowdDJ, The Australian Financial Review reports. The app operates like a virtual jukebox, and allows users to tap into a venue's playlist and make music selections from their Spotify account.

* Australia's Fetch TV debuted eGG, or Every Good Game, a 24/7 network for eSports and gaming, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. Along with live coverage of tournaments and highlights packages, Malaysia-based eGG also features game reviews, coverage from gaming conventions and talk shows.

* Russel Howcroft resigned as executive general manager of Ten Network Holdings Ltd., Business Insider Australia reports. Howcroft, who had been with the Australian broadcaster since 2012, is leaving to take up a creative executive post at PwC.


* Limelight Networks Inc., a global content delivery network service provider, announced that Indian company Microscan Computers is using its Orchestrate Platform to provide OTT content to its customers worldwide via 150 Indian TV channels.

* Vodafone India launched 4G services in four districts of West Bengal, The Economic Times (India) reports. The Indian telco will also reportedly make 4G available across the Bengal telco circle in the coming months.

* Dish TV India Ltd. is carrying Digishala, the Indian government's channel for educating viewers on different modes of digital payments, Indian Television reports. The 24/7 channel is being made available to Dish TV's 15 million subscribers.

* Sony Pictures Network India's Ten Sports Network will telecast I-League soccer matches in the country, in partnership with the All India Football Federation, Indian Television reports.


Briefing Room: NBC back in the hunt for Golden Globe awards; HBO, FX lead nominations: Recovering from a year with zero awards, NBC, which will televise the Golden Globe awards ceremony Jan. 8, earned three nominations from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for its multi-generational family series "This Is Us."

M&A Replay: Microsoft closes LinkedIn deal; Lions Gate completes Starz purchase: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. media and communications deal announcements and completions from Dec. 5 to Dec. 9.

Samsung wins ruling over Apple; Obama blocks Chinese tech deal: In this biweekly Asia-Pacific Regulatory Spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of significant recent regulatory events in the Asia-Pacific region.


Broadcast Investor: Bigger cut to clearing cost expected as incentive auction moves to Stage 4: The next stage of the FCC's reverse auction is scheduled to start Dec. 13, but the question for broadcasters tendering stations is if wireless bidders will budge from their positions in the forward auction.

Global Multichannel: Western Europe multichannel and broadband market overview: Faced with challenging growth prospects, Western Europe's multichannel market's response in recent years has been to drive intense consolidation and realignment.

Economics of Internet: Q3'16 top video provider rankings: Despite divergent growth trajectories between the incumbent multichannel providers and the over-the-top subscription services, there was only a modest third-quarter shuffling of the top U.S. video subscription provider rankings.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Sunny Um, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke and Kevin Osmond contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time. Some external links may require a subscription.