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US may blacklist China's Hikvision; UK's ARM halts business with Huawei

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US may blacklist China's Hikvision; UK's ARM halts business with Huawei

TOP NEWS

* Washington is looking to blacklist Chinese video surveillance technology company Hikvision and curb its ability to purchase U.S. technology, The New York Times reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The U.S. Department of Commerce is likely to make it mandatory for American companies to seek prior approval before supplying components to Hikvision to prevent national security threats. A firm decision is expected in the coming weeks.

* British chipmaker ARM Holdings PLC ordered its staff to suspend business with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries, in compliance with a U.S. ban on the Chinese tech giant, BBC News reported, citing internal documents. ARM believes it is affected by the ban since its designs contain "U.S.-origin technology." It told staff not to engage in discussions with Huawei and to decline opportunities to talk about the business at industry events.

* British Telecom unit EE and Vodafone Group PLC have dropped Huawei's phones from their impending 5G network launches, a move that could benefit rival Chinese manufacturers. The move casts doubt over the future of Huawei's smartphones in Europe, its second-biggest market after its native China.

JAPAN

* KDDI Corp. is partnering with Tokyo-based general trading company Sumitomo Corp. to enter Myanmar's mobile game market. The companies will jointly operate a mobile game publishing business in Myanmar through Funcreate Myanmar Ltd., a subsidiary of Singapore-based joint venture Funcreate Pte. Ltd.

* SoftBank Group Corp.'s mobile brand Ymobile, along with KDDI and NTT Docomo Inc., are postponing the launch of Huawei P30 Lite, Huawei P30 Lite Premium and Huawei P30 Pro smartphones respectively, amid Washington's clampdown on the Chinese mobile carrier, Reuters reported.

* Sony Corp. President Kenichiro Yoshida said that smartphones remain an essential business for the tech giant, Jiji Press reported. Yoshida added that the company plans to return the smartphone business to profitability by fiscal 2020.

SOUTH KOREA

* Kakao Corp. rolled out an upgraded version of its translation service and extended the number of languages offered, in a bid to catch up with rivals Google LLC and NAVER Corp., The Korea Times reported. The company is working to improve its share in the translation market.

* Kakao Talk, along with YouTube LLC and Facebook Inc., will be scrutinized for their user protection activities by the Korea Communications Commission, ZDNet Korea reported. This is part of the test run on services used by more than 10 million users, following the commission's inclusion of the "value-added network service providers" in the list of entities, obligated to put in efforts to prevent damage to users and better handling of user complaints.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and LG Electronics Inc. are looking to compete against each other with their new mid and low-end smartphones, namely Samsung Galaxy A50 and LG X6, next month, ZDNet Korea reported. The two products are expected to cost about 400,000 won.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Baidu Inc. and China CITIC Bank Corp. Ltd.'s financial technology joint venture, aiBank, is looking to raise up to 7 billion Chinese yuan through a private funding round, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Deliberations regarding the financing are ongoing and details of the deal may change. The joint venture aims to complete the financing in the coming months.

* In the wake of U.S. restrictions on Huawei, Microsoft Corp. stopped selling Huawei's MateBook X Pro at its online store, The Verge reported.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. said it acquired Sweden-based game developer Sharkmob AB for an undisclosed sum. Sharkmob provides cross-play capable and immersive social experiences online for large groups of gamers.

* In other Tencent news, the Chinese conglomerate launched a slew of new offerings at its Tencent Global Digital Ecosystem Summit in China, TechNode reported. As part of Tencent's latest push in the education sector, the Chinese tech giant introduced a new education brand and a smart education lab. The lab will explore the use of artificial intelligence in education.

* Tencent also partnered with Shenzhen Stock Exchange to establish a fintech lab, Sina reported. The lab will use technologies to push development in the futures industry.

* China Telecom Corp. Ltd. named Ke Ruiwen as chairman and CEO of the company, effective May 22 until the company's annual general meeting in 2020. Ke has been executive director, president and COO of the Chinese state-owned operator.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Amid losses and competition from Chinese and South Korean smartphone-makers, Japan's Sony Corp. announced it is exiting the Indian smartphone market, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing IANS. The company, however, said it would continue its customer support operations for existing customers in India.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. awarded a contract to International Business Machines Corp. to deploy a blockchain-based pan-India network, The Economic Times (India) reported. The network will allow Bharti Airtel to protect its subscribers from pesky calls and messages.

* Beijing ByteDance Technologies Co. Ltd. appointed Sameer Singh vice president of monetization for India, Hindustan Times reported, citing IANS. Previously, Singh led the South Asia marketing services operations as CEO of GroupM.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* The Indonesian government deactivated video and photo sharing features on Facebook, Instagram Inc. and Twitter Inc. in the wake of civil unrest, Merdeka reported. The government is trying to curb the transmission of fake news via social media for provocation.

* Indonesian telco PT Smartfren Telecom Tbk will partner with China's ZTE Corp. to test 5G network in June, Kompas reported. ZTE will provide 5G hardware to Smartfren for the testing.

* Malaysian mobile virtual network operator redONE Network trial launched its postpaid services and started offering mobile plans in Singapore, The Straits Times reported. RedONE is using StarHub Ltd.'s mobile infrastructure to provides its services in the country.

* Thailand's three main telcos, Advanced Info Service PCL, True Corp. and Total Access Communication PCL were critical of the telecom regulator at a public hearing for setting the price of 700 MHz licenses too high, Manager reported. The three telcos said the current price of 17.5 billion baht per 10 MHz license is higher than the average price for the same bandwidth in both Europe and Asia.

* Advanced Info Service developed an internet of things enabled smart electricity meter in partnership with King Mongkut's University of Technology North Bangkok. The meter connects to devices via the AIS NarrowBand-IoT network.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. has partnered with Taiwan-based HTC Corp. to launch Australia's first 5G mobile device, the HTC 5G Hub, which is a 5G/4GX media hotspot. It functions equally as a mobile corporate solution and a family entertainment hub that can leverage 5G to stream shows and games to the TV in 4K.

* Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd. rolled out a suite of international usage and roaming add-ons for prepay customers that include A$5 International Talk and A$20 Roam Data, Telecompaper reported.

FEATURED NEWS

Analysis: Sprint/T-Mobile commitments may not go far enough for DOJ: The U.S. Department of Justice's approval of the deal likely hinges on whether T-Mobile US Inc. and Sprint Corp.'s latest commitments qualify as structural or behavioral remedies, telecommunications policy experts say.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Networks: Cable networks Q1'19 distribution revenue recap: The timing of third-party licensing deals causes revenue to drop at Viacom and AMC in the first quarter of 2019.

Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Patrick Tibke 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.