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SoftBank bets US$2.5B on Flipkart; WWE launches OTT service in China

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SoftBank bets US$2.5B on Flipkart; WWE launches OTT service in China

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. made an approximately 20% stake in Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. for roughly US$2.5 billion through its $93 billion Vision Fund, making it Flipkart's largest shareholder, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing a source.

* World Wrestling Entertainment Inc.'s streaming service WWE Network will launch Aug. 18 in China, exclusively as a subscription video-on-demand service on PPTV.

* Indonesian Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara opened 11 Telegram sites that were previously blocked, CNN Indonesia reports. Rudiantara stated that the ministry has made an agreement with Telegram CEO Pavel Durov to implement several measures, such as Telegram assigning special representatives in Indonesia to communicate directly with the Indonesian government.

* Australian gaming solutions provider Aristocrat Leisure Ltd. has agreed to acquire 100% of Plarium Global, an Israel-based social gaming company, for US$500 million in cash.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Twitter Inc.'s #EveryCharacterMatters digital campaign is going global with the company's first worldwide 24-hour Twitter video relay, BGR India reports. The creator-based video relay will begin in Sydney and will include Melbourne, Tokyo, Singapore, Jakarta, Mumbai and many other cities around the world.

JAPAN

* Toshiba Corp. has reopened discussions with Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., or Foxconn, and Western Digital Corp. over the sale of its memory chip business, according to The Wall Street Journal. This reportedly removes the Bain Capital-led consortium as the preferred bidder for its chip unit Toshiba Memory Corp.

* Toshiba announced it won qualified auditor approval for its earnings report, helping it to stave off the threat of a delisting. The embattled electronics giant reported a net loss of ¥965.7 billion, mostly from losses in its bankrupt U.S. nuclear business. Toshiba President Satoshi Tsunakawa said a sale of his company's flash memory unit, intended to stave off Toshiba's own collapse, is "difficult" but "possible" by the end of the fiscal year, The Nikkei reports.

* Toyota Motor Corp. is joining forces with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., NTT DOCOMO Inc. and other tech giants in an international consortium to develop driverless cars. The partnership aims to create an ecosystem for connected cars to support services such as intelligent driving and maps with real-time data. It also includes DENSO Corp., Ericsson AB and Toyota subsidiary Toyota InfoTechnology Center Co. Ltd.

* Sony Pictures TV Studios named Lauren Stein executive vice president and head of drama development, promoting her from senior vice-president for drama development, Deadline reports. An internal memo cited by Deadline said the move was part of a Sony TV executive restructuring spearheaded by new Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra.

SOUTH KOREA

* The Korea Communications Commission and the country's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism jointly started investigating unfair practices between broadcasters and outsourced content production agencies, ZDNet Korea reports. The four-month probe will take an exhaustive look at contractual arrangements including production cost payment and profit distribution as well as working conditions such as overwork and a discriminatory working environment.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd., partnering with South Korean communications equipment company KMW Inc., developed and successfully tested its wireless 5G relay repeater technology, Digital Times reports. The technology amplifies 5G wireless signals between a base station and a handset to deliver them even in shadow areas, and ultimately contributes to creating seamless 5G coverage.

* South Korean internet company Kakao Corp. posted record second-quarter revenue of 468.4 billion South Korean won, up 24% year over year, and an operating profit of 44.6 billion won, up 68% year over year, due to growth of its content sector, including music, games and web comics, which was behind over half of its revenue.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will join hands with global entertainment company Live Nation Entertainment Inc. to live stream British rock band Coldplay's Chicago concert in virtual reality on Aug. 17, ET News reports. Viewers will need a Samsung Gear VR headset and a compatible Samsung smartphone to enjoy the show in real time. A replay and concert highlights will be available after the show for a limited time.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Hong Kong telecom giant PCCW Ltd.'s streaming service PCCW OTT raised US$110 million from Chinese investment group Hony Capital, Foxconn and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasek Holdings (Pvt) Ltd. for an 18% stake in the company, leading its valuation to US$611 million. Majority shareholder PCCW Media Ltd. says there could be an IPO of the OTT service in five years, and the trio will have priority through their right to buy further preference shares.

* Alibaba Pictures Group Ltd. is establishing a new talent agency and a "variety show production and distribution" company, through two joint venture agreements formed between its subsidiaries Zhejiang Dongyang and 1 Verge Information. The two ventures will have a total registered capital of 89 million Chinese yuan, which will be coming from the two Alibaba Pictures affiliates.

* SINA Corp. plans to raise US$500 million for an online finance fund to invest in Chinese fintech companies, China Money Network reports.

* Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd.'s Wanda Hotel Development is planning to acquire theme park construction company Wanda Culture Travel Innovation Group Co. Ltd. for 6.3 billion Chinese yuan from Wanda Chairman Wang Jianlin's private company Beijing Wanda Culture Industry Group as part of a possible asset restructuring.

* Baidu Inc. partnered with JD.Com Inc. to provide a better e-commerce experience to consumers and advertisers, using both companies' big data resources, user bases and AI algorithm technology.

* Wisconsin governor Scott Walker defended a US$3 billion tax-incentive package to attract Taiwan's Foxconn to the U.S. state amid rising concerns among taxpayers regarding the hefty tax bill, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing an interview with the governor.

* China Mobile Ltd. attained an operating revenue of 388.9 billion yuan in the first half of the year, up 5% from the same period last year, with revenue from telecommunications up by 6.9%. Net profit grew 3.5% to 62.7 billion yuan. The total number of mobile customers was 867 million, representing a net addition of 17.61 million. The company is still working toward the target of a net increase of 100 million 4G customers and is carrying out 5G field tests this year.

* Chinese online game provider NetEase Inc. saw a 49.4% jump in second-quarter net revenue, year over year, to 13.4 billion yuan. Online game services posted a net revenue of 9.4 billion yuan, showing an increase of 46.5% compared to last year. Founder and chief executive William Ding Lei said the company is actively seeking new foreign titles to bring to China, while looking for opportunities for its own intellectual property in overseas markets, the South China Morning Post reports.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Netflix Inc. is adding Malaysia-made content provided by Malaysian production house Primeworks Studios Sdn Bhd to its current line-up, The Edge Markets reports. Netflix said it has added five Malaysian films and series which will be available Aug. 21.

* MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, a subsidiary of Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd., has issued the first series of 5-year tenure medium term notes, or MTNs, amounting to 300 million Malaysian ringgit, The Star Online reports. The funds from the first series, which is part of the MTN program of up to 3 billion ringgit, would be used for various purposes such as content purchasing.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission appointed four new members to its OTT subcommittee to assist in redrafting its new regulatory framework for over-the-top content so that video-on-demand services do not fall under the same category as regular broadcast businesses, the Bangkok Post reports. The draft is expected to be completed by the end of September.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service reported that its AIS Fibre broadband sales generated 738 million baht in revenue in the second quarter of 2017, an increase of 404% over the same period of last year, Prachachat reports.

* Philippines-based telco operator PLDT Inc. saw its net income jump 33% in the first half of 2017 to 16.5 billion pesos, compared to same period in 2016. Its consolidated service revenue for the first half of 2017 was 71.2 billion pesos, 6% lower year over year.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australia's Minister for Regional Communications Fiona Nash announced that 34 towers will go live this month as part of the NBN fixed wireless rollout.

* New Zealand Communications Minister Simon Bridges announced that the initial rollout of ultra-fast broadband is now close to 80% complete, giving almost 1.2 million households and businesses access to UFB.

* LaunchVic, the Victorian government's startup investment body, has cut ties with U.S.-based accelerator program 500 Startups over sexual harassment allegations against a co-founder of the Silicon Valley company, The Australian Financial Review reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Nitesh Kripalani, Amazon.com Inc.'s India head for Prime Video, has resigned, an Amazon India spokesperson confirmed to The Economic Times (India).

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. CEO and managing director Gopal Vittal sold 121,000 shares of the company at an average price of 416.05 Indian rupees a piece to Bharti Telecom Ltd. for about 50.34 million Indian rupees, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing block deal data from the National Stock Exchange of India dated Aug. 10.

* Discovery Communications Inc.'s Indian sports channel Dsport secured broadcast rights for PGA Championships, Rapid TV News reports.

* Amazon is also considering hiring more than 1,000 people, mostly software professionals, in India, largely for research and development for Amazon.com, Amazon.in, the devices business and its cloud-computing division Amazon Web Services, The Times of India reports.

* Social media app musical.ly is soon to make its India debut, according to IANS.

FEATURED NEWS

Data Dispatch: Netflix's future without Disney: Analysts weighed in on the impact of Disney's decision to end its Netflix partnership. Both companies indicated they would likely continue to work together in some capacity.

With fresh capital, Kabbage faces On Deck and growing pool of digital lenders: On Deck and small-business lending startup Kabbage are vying for a share of digital small-business lending, where new entrants stand to make the space more crowded.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: Disney OTT may impact future premium output deals: Walt Disney's strategy reversal regarding over-the-top is likely to have rippling effects throughout the industry and ultimately disrupt the lucrative premium-network window.

Economics of Networks: TV One hit by low ratings, high launch support in Q2: Ad revenue for TV One fell 5.9% year over year for the second quarter.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Patrick Tibke and Ed Eduard 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.