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Google to invest in LG; Japanese consortium in works for Toshiba chip bid

TOP NEWS

* Google Inc. intends to invest 1 trillion South Korean won, or about US$880 million, in South Korean manufacturer LG Display Co. Ltd. to fund the establishment of organic light-emitting diode production facilities, ET News reports, citing industry sources. The Alphabet Inc.-owned tech giant reportedly wants to use flexible OLEDs by the South Korean company in its next flagship Pixel smartphone. The LG Corp. unit declined to comment.

* A Japanese public-private consortium may be formed to bid for a more than one-third stake in Toshiba Corp.'s memory chip business to prevail over foreign bidders, The Japan Times reports, citing "informed sources." Under the proposed terms, several Japanese companies will team up with state-backed investment fund Innovation Network Corp. of Japan and state-owned Development Bank of Japan Inc. to put together around ¥500 billion, or about US$4.5 billion. Potential investors in the consortium include FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd.

* Chinese private equity firm Beijing Shanhai Capital Management Co. Ltd. acquired California-headquartered Analogix Semiconductor Inc., a manufacturer of high-performance display applications used in mobile devices and virtual and augmented reality, for US$500 million, China Money Network reports. The company is a supplier for Apple Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., LG, Microsoft Corp., Google and Lenovo Group Ltd., and has most of its engineering operations in Beijing.

JAPAN

* Toshiba Corp. is considering a sale of its TV business as part of its ongoing efforts to make up for the loss from its U.S. nuclear division Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC, The Nikkei reports. Potential buyers include Turkish and Chinese companies, according to people familiar with the matter.

* In other Toshiba news, the U.S. International Trade Commission said it will probe the conglomerate for allegedly infringing a flash memory patent, Kyodo News reports. The investigation is based on a complaint filed by Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer Macronix International Co. Ltd. If Toshiba is found to have violated the patent, it could become unable to sell its flash memory chips and products using them, such as video cameras and car navigation systems, in the U.S.

* NTT Communications Corp., the data and IP services arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., will start deploying a 400G optical transmission system in data centers for network connection. Deployment will be implemented sequentially from April 14. The system will raise the transmission capacity of NTT Com's core network above 19 Tbps per optical fiber, or more than double existing capacity.

SOUTH KOREA

* Netflix Inc. will premiere the South Korean original series "Man x Man" on April 21, offering the show at the same time that it airs on TV outside of South Korea and the U.S. Under an exclusive international licensing agreement with South Korean cable TV and broadcasting company JTBC, the series will be offered on Netflix an hour after it airs on JTBC in South Korea and at the same time as it airs on JTBC in many other countries, excluding the U.S.

* Samsung Electronics forecast a first-quarter operating profit of 9.9 trillion South Korean won, up 48.2% year-on-year, boosted by its semiconductor business, Yonhap News Agency reports. The Samsung Group unit expects its second-quarter performance to be stronger with the launch of its new Galaxy S8 smartphone coupled with continuously favorable chip market conditions.

* In other Samsung Electronics news, the company is providing funding to 40 research projects in the first half of the year, Yonhap News Agency reports. The company is backing work focused on basic science, material technology and information-communications technology. Samsung reportedly intends to invest 1.5 trillion South Korean won as part of the 10-year program, which started in 2013.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Private equity investors CMC Capital Partners and FountainVest Partners sold their collective 5.9% equity investment in IMAX Corp. unit IMAX China Holding Inc. at HK$39.72 per share to an international investment bank. IMAX China Chairman Richard Gelfond said the sale will help promote increased liquidity and "accomplishes a smooth transition of IMAX China shares into the market."

* Chinese news recommendation app Toutiao secured a US$1 billion series D investment led by Sequoia Capital and CCB International, an investment unit of China Construction Bank Co., Finet reports. The five-year-old company is now valued at US$12 billion, and the fund will reportedly be used in overseas expansions in the U.S., Brazil and Japan.

* Beijing-based artificial intelligence startup Mobvoi Inc. attracted a US$180 million investment from German auto maker Volkswagen, betting on smart mobility solutions for its next generation of cars, the South China Morning Post reports. The companies will establish a joint venture to build on the voice recognition and natural language processing technologies that Mobvoi has developed.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* As a result of Thailand's new telecom act, the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will be restructured, including the merging of its Broadcasting and Telecommunications boards into one, Prachachat reports. The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Office will also be restructured accordingly.

* Singaporean telco M1 Ltd. launched a digital mobile remittance service that allows its customers to send funds to eight countries around Asia. The service also includes real-time exchange rates that can be accessed through a mobile app or mobile browser.

* Thailand's Electronic Government Agency announced that at least 80% of government-issued identity papers for Thais will go electronic this year, the Bangkok Post reports. This follows an amendment to the Licensing Facilitation Act to no longer require a certified paper copy from citizens accessing public services. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry will invest 100 million Thai baht to set up a data center to support the paperless goal.

* Indonesian telco PT XL Axiata Tbk will raise 2.18 trillion Indonesian rupiah by selling Islamic bonds, the Jakarta Globe reports. The proceeds will be used to pay back debts of 375 billion rupiah and 1.8 trillion rupiah to two Indonesian banks, while 5 billion rupiah will be used to pay the lease of XL's telecommunication tower.

* Philippine telco PLDT Inc. is teaming up with the local government of General Santos City to set up fiber-to-the-home facilities for its first "Fibr City" in Mindanao, The Philippine Star reports.

* Indonesian telco Telkomsel plans to migrate around 600,000 out of 3 million of its customers in Nusa Tenggara Timur by the end of the year, Kompas reports. To achieve the target, the PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk unit will launch 4G smartphone bundling and open outlets for 4G SIM card exchange.

* Telenor ASA's Myanmar unit announced that SIM cards that were not registered by the government's deadline of March 31 will be suspended for three months, Telecompaper reports. The telco also launched WowBox, an app for localized content, competitions and entertainment, according to another Telecompaper report.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Taxation Office is seeking A$2.9 billion in back taxes owed by seven major companies, which may include Apple, Google, Microsoft and Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd., The Age reports. They are among the companies mentioned in Senate inquiries or in ASX statements audited by the ATO.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will monitor the country's broadband performance. The regulator will test about 4,000 households for the average speeds of fixed-line NBN services at various times of the day to provide consumers accurate data on broadband speeds.

* Australian airline Qantas launched its free in-flight Wi-Fi service after postponing its scheduled test flight multiple times. The service, offered on domestic flights, uses NBN Co. Ltd.'s Sky Muster satellite signal delivered by ViaSat Inc.

* Telco Spark New Zealand Ltd. has created a customer service channel on Chinese social network WeChat that caters to both English and Chinese speakers.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Snapdeal founders told employees that it will ensure there is no disruption to staff as speculation continues about a possible sale, Reuters reports. The Indian e-commerce company also said workers will receive higher salaries compared to last year.

* Reliance Communications Ltd. has let go of more than 600 staff, The Economic Times of India reports. The layoffs come amid the Reliance Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group unit's ongoing merger with Aircel, a subsidiary of Maxis Bhd.

* Pakistan Telecommunication Co. Ltd. is collaborating with subscription video-on-demand service iflix to offer PTCL broadband subscribers and Smart TV customers unlimited access to the streaming service for one year, according to Pakistan Today.

* Indian multisystem operator Hathway Cable & Datacom Ltd. is partnering with mobile wallet MobiKwik to enable its customers to pay their bills using the MobiKwik app, Television Post reports.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: Turner, Fox, Viacom tap Accenture, Nielsen, comScore for ad targeting: Beta testing for OpenAP is slated for August, before the audience targeting platform officially launches in October.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Snap bulking up exclusive video content: In the past year, the newly publicly traded Snap has been taking aggressive strides into the exclusive content space, expanding from its social networking/messaging roots and including more mobile video.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Wil Hathaway 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.