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Apple hit with antitrust complaint in China; SoftBank injects $1.1B into biotech

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. is leading a US$1.1 billion investment in Switzerland-based biotech startup Roivant Sciences Ltd. through its US$93 billion SoftBank Vision Fund. It is the fund's first backing of a drugmaker and the largest private financing in the healthcare industry, according to the Financial Times.

* Chinese app developers have filed an antitrust complaint against Apple Inc. for allegedly abusing its control over the iOS App Store, the Financial Times (London) reports. Apple is accused of mistreating Chinese app developers by pulling their apps from the App Store without good reason and imposing high fees for in-app purchases.

* Essential Products Inc., founded by the creator of Google Inc.'s Android, Andy Rubin, confirmed that it has secured US$300 million in funding as it prepares to take on Apple and Samsung, The Wall Street Journal reports. The smartphone startup also revealed that Amazon.com Inc.'s Alexa Fund and Tencent Holdings Ltd. are among its investors.

* Hitachi Ltd. said U.S. private equity firm KKR & Co. LP has decided to not commence its tender offer for Hitachi's chip-making equipment and video solution unit, Hitachi Kokusai Electric Inc. Earlier this year KKR announced plans to acquire 48.33% of Hitachi Kokusai through its unit HKE Holdings, with a view to a full takeover of the company.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group announced a partnership with Chinese bike-sharing provider ofo Inc. to launch its service in Japan. SoftBank Commerce & Services Corp., the ICT solutions arm of SoftBank, and ofo reached an exclusive deal for large-scale deployment, with the service starting in Tokyo and Osaka in September.

* Sony Corp. and Sony Global Education developed a system that will apply blockchain technology in managing data from various educational institutions, allowing educational data and digital transcripts to be recorded and referenced in a way that makes it difficult to be falsified.

SOUTH KOREA

* The Korea Fair Trade Commission started investigating whether the country's three major telcos — SK Telecom Co. Ltd., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — were in cahoots to fix prices of mobile phone plans and USIM cards, ET News reports. According to the report, the investigation was triggered by several consumer organizations and lawmakers, and the antitrust body declined to comment on the ongoing probe.

* South Korean entertainment company CJ E&M said in a conference call that it plans to expand its platform options by supplying its content to Apple TV and Amazon Prime in addition to Netflix Inc., ZDNet Korea reports. The company also added that its production subsidiary Studio Dragon Corp. will continue to make diverse content.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unveiled its 1Tb V-NAND memory chip, which it plans to incorporate in its commercial solid-state drives for large memory capacity in 2018, at the Flash Memory Summit 2017. The company also announced a new format for SSD, Next Generation Small Form Factor, which can increase the storage capacity up to fourfold and will be mass produced in the fourth quarter.

* Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics joined the MulteFire Alliance, a consortium formed to develop and promote MulteFire, an LTE-based technology for small cell operating solely in unlicensed and shared spectrum. As a member, the company is expected to develop small cell technologies and network solutions to support the network.

* LG Electronics Inc. expanded its license agreement with U.S.-based Immersion Corp., allowing the former to use Immersion's TouchSense technology for high-definition haptics in LG Electronics mobile devices.

* Hyundai Motor Co.'s Hyundai MnSOFT is working on an ultra-high precision HD map that will be used for self-driving cars and which will be presented during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February 2018, ET News reports.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* The board of Taiwan Semiconductor Mfg. Co. Ltd. approved a NT$95 billion capital expenditure budget to build manufacturing plants and as research and development with a focus on 10nm technology for the second half of the year, targeting a 10% contribution to the company's revenue for the year.

* "Wolf Warrior 2" became the highest-grossing film in China, taking 3.4 billion yuan in just 12 days, China Film Insider reports.

* SINA Corp., the Chinese internet portal provider, reported a net revenue of US$358.9 million in the second quarter, with a 47% year over year increase, and a 70 cents diluted net income per share. Advertising revenue increased 44% to US$295.2 million, supported by a 72% growth in advertising revenue from its microblog Weibo. Gross margin rose 10 percentage points to 74% with advertising gross margin reaching 76%.

* Weibo Corp., the Chinese social media platform in which Sina holds a controlling stake, attained a net revenue of US$253.4 million in the second quarter, representing a 72% rise, and a 33 cents diluted net income per share compared to 12 cents for the same period last year. Monthly active users saw a 28% growth, reaching 361 million in June, and the number of average daily active users had a net addition of 33 million in the month.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Telekom Malaysia will be offering customers access to subscription video-on-demand service Netflix by October, The Edge Markets reports.

* China's Comba Telecom, through its subsidiary Jiafu Holdings, has completed its acquisition of Laos telco Enterprise of Telecommunications Laos (ETL) Co. Ltd., Xinhua News Agency reports. As part of a bilateral agreement with the Laos government in Aug. 2016, Jiafu Holdings secured a 51% stake in ETL, with ETL Public Co. Ltd. renamed as ETL Co. Ltd.

* Malaysian e-payment solution company ManagePay Services Berhad formed an agreement with Contracts Rise Sdn Bhd to set up a joint venture to buy a mobile virtual network operator license from the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission, The Edge Markets reports. The JV is expected to launch and promote its own MVNO starter pack for both Malaysians and foreigners in Malaysia.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission ordered a 30-day suspension of Peace TV after it found that the station had broadcast seditious and politically sensitive comments during two of its political talk shows last month, Manager reports.

* Thai telco TrueMove H launched an updated version of the Travel SIM Asia, which now can now be used in 13 countries throughout Asia, including Myanmar, Cambodia and Malaysia, Flashfly reports. The Travel SIM Asia offers eight days of non-stop 4GB data roaming for 399 baht. A previous version of the Travel SIM Asia was operational in only seven countries.

* Indonesian Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara is considering using BlackBerry communication security services for government communication, CNN Indonesia reports. Rudiantara said that there was no agreement yet, but the minister and BlackBerry CEO John Chen are scheduled to meet again at the end of this month or next month.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* FOXTEL CEO Peter Tonagh welcomed the conviction of a Sydney man who sold unauthorized Foxtel services to 8,000 people, The Australian reports.

* Vodafone Hutchison Australia CEO Inaki Berroeta is urging NBN Co. Ltd., the company rolling out Australia's National Broadband Network, to reduce the wholesale price for telecom operators, according to The Australian.

* New Zealand mobile operator 2degrees said it tapped Chorus Ltd. to become its primary provider of national backhaul connecting customers from Invercargill to Kaitaia.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Apple is stepping up its investments in India, with a focus on innovation rather than "selling the most number of units," CEO Tim Cook said in an interview with The Hindu Business Line. Apple also wants to convince the Indian government to allow it to sell its refurbished iPhones.

* Reliance Communications Ltd. said its board will meet on Aug. 12 to review and approve matters relating to the proposed merger of the company with Aircel Ltd. that was submitted to the National Company Law Tribunal, as well as to consider issuing equity shares to lenders through debt conversion.

* YuppTV and Discovery Communications Inc. have purchased bid documents ahead of the upcoming media rights auction of the Indian Premier League T20 cricket tournament, two people familiar with the development told Mint.

* BSNL is in talks with Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Reliance Jio Infocomm for the sharing of its dark optic fiber in an effort to double its revenue from network sharing to about 30 billion Indian rupees in the 2017-2018 period, BSNL Chairman Anupam Shrivastava told The Economic Times (India).

* Tata Communications Ltd. and CoreSite Realty Corp. have partnered to allow the former to expand its cloud and managed hosting services in the U.S. market through CoreSite's data center and interconnection solutions across the U.S.

* Panasonic Corp. is expecting a revenue of 20 billion rupees from its smartphone business in India, Pankaj Rana, Panasonic India's business head for its mobility division, told Press Trust of India. It also plans to launch as many as 28 smartphones in 2017.

* Tata Group Chairman Natarajan Chandrasekaran is assembling a team of dealmakers to sell or merge dozens of its units, expand its financial services and refocus some of the conglomerate's biggest businesses, Mint reports, citing interviews with senior executives.

FEATURED NEWS

CAPITAL Letters: Innovation thrives on failure at tech companies: Failure is not only an acceptable option at some of media tech's biggest players, it's a well-worn pathway to success.

The Daily Dose: Disney launching new streaming services; Netflix to lose Disney, Pixar content: Disney announced new sports and entertainment digital streaming platforms, and Netflix will lose some Disney and Pixar content that will now be on the new offerings.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: CBS building low-cost sports service with existing rights, infrastructure: CBS reported robust second-quarter earnings and said it was building a new sports streaming service.

Global Multichannel: Global markets update – North America and Chile: Kagan has published updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for a regional summary and one market.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Wil Hathaway 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.