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T-Mobile, Sprint may drop Huawei for merger; Apple moves to avoid China ban

TOP NEWS

* T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp. expect their merger to get U.S. security clearance as early as this week, after parent companies of both carriers agreed to consider curbing their use of equipment from China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Reuters reported. Sources said U.S. officials have been pressuring T-Mobile's majority owner, Deutsche Telekom AG, to stop using Huawei equipment amid rising security concerns. Sprint's parent, SoftBank Group Corp., is already planning a shift from Huawei devices.

* Apple Inc. will be forced to settle its long-standing patent battle with Qualcomm Inc. if an iPhone ban in China succeeds, Bloomberg News reported, citing a court filing. A Chinese court earlier granted Qualcomm a preliminary injunction against Apple, banning the import and sale of several iPhone models in China. The iPhone maker will also release a software update for its Chinese users early on the week of Dec. 17, in order to address potential concerns on the functions covered by the patents identified in the case.

* As the effects of U.S. allegations against a Huawei Technologies executive ripple through global markets, representatives of some small and midsize U.S. wireless carriers say an outright ban on Chinese equipment could be cost-prohibitive.

JAPAN

* Japan Display Inc., a joint venture of Sony Corp., Toshiba Corp. and Hitachi Ltd., is in talks with Chinese companies and investment funds in a bid to get support for its turnaround efforts, The Nikkei reports. The Japanese panel maker has been seeking capital from investors inside and outside Japan due to its negative economic performance.

* NTT Docomo Inc., the mobile unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., is expanding its Docomo Money Transfer remittance service to China and Thailand.

* Tokyo-based technical solutions provider Cybernet Systems Co. Ltd. has set up a subsidiary in Malaysia to expand its Asia-Pacific computer-aided engineering business.

SOUTH KOREA

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. will launch a part of its big data analytics solution Metatron as an open source platform to promote the growth of the internet of things industry, Financial News reports. The company plans to open Metatron Discovery, one of the Metatron offerings designed to analyze and visualize big data, to developers and business partners for expanded use.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is launching a new tablet and its upcoming Galaxy S10 series in the first quarter of 2019. According to BGR, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A will start out with 32GB as the base storage option and will include black and grey color options.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Baidu Inc. launched a 1 billion yuan innovation fund to accelerate its mini-program ecosystem, TechNode reports. The fund will be used to design and host open online courses and seminars, as well as offline workshops catering to developers.

* NetEase Inc. will invest 100 million yuan for a remote learning program in Chengdu, China. According to Invest Size, the company will set new strategies for its open courses segment and technology for equal access to education live-streaming project.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* India's telecom department will clear Reliance Communications Ltd.'s spectrum sale to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. by Dec. 17. According to The Economic Times of India, the clearance will enable RCom to complete its asset sales and pay off creditors.

* Vivo will invest US$559 million to build its second plant in India, Reuters reports. The Chinese smartphone maker also acquired 169 acres of land in Uttar Pradesh, near the company's existing 50-acre manufacturing facility.

* Reliance Jio is in discussions with U.S. contract manufacturer Flex Ltd. for the local production of about 100 million mobile phone handsets as the Indian telco seeks to enhance its market share, The Economic Times of India reports.

* Star India Pvt. Ltd. Chairman and CEO Uday Shankar will lead the combined Star and Disney India entities as part of Walt Disney Co.'s reorganization of its international businesses, Television Post reports. Shankar was also appointed president of Disney's Asia-Pacific operations.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Google LLC launched an artificial intelligence program in Thailand to screen for diabetic eye disease, following a similar program in India, Reuters reports. The program analyses patients' eye screen results to assess if they are at a risk of vision loss, which will enable them to have pre-emptive treatment.

* Interlink Telecom PCL won a contract worth 3.56 billion baht to build high-speed internet infrastructure in Thailand's rural areas, Krungthep Turakij reports.

* Southeast Asian ride-hailing company PT Go-Jek Indonesia, through its app Get developed for the Thai market, launched beta motorbike-hailing and on-demand delivery services in Bangkok, Tech in Asia reports.

* Thailand's Department of Land Transport is adopting the use of digital drivers' licenses, Khaosod reports. Beginning January 2019, Thai drivers will be able to pull up their licenses from a smartphone app.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Seven West Media Ltd. is considering selling some of its regional newspapers in Western Australia, which include titles such as The Albany Advertiser, Bunbury Herald, South Western Times and Kalgoorlie Miner. According to The Australian Financial Review, the move echoes Nine Entertainment Co.'s and News Corp Australia Pty. Ltd.'s plans to off-load their regional and community publishing assets.

* Commonwealth Bank of Australia said that beginning January 2019, Apple Pay will be available to CBA and Bankwest customers.

FEATURED NEWS

MarketWeek: Tencent Music shares hit high note, then fade after US market debut: Tencent Music saw its shares pop and then fizzle during the Chinese streaming service's first days of trading in the week ended Dec. 14. CBS Corp. shares slipped as internal concerns surfaced regarding the sexual misconduct investigation into former CEO Les Moonves.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of TV & Film: 'Bohemian Rhapsody' tunes up big profit for Fox: The major studios began rolling out their holiday tentpole films at the start of November and several ended up drawing big audiences. The Freddie Mercury biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" topped the film profitability projections chart.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.