* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd.'s TikTok is partnering with Southeast Asian video-on-demand service iflix Sdn. Bhd. to bring its short-form content to audiences in 13 countries across Asia. Under the tie-up, iflix customers can access TikTok videos from around the world via a dedicated channel.
* The U.S. and China paused their nearly two-year trade conflict on Jan. 15 with the signing of a "phase one" agreement that includes Beijing's pledge to purchase more than US$200 billion of additional American products and services over the next two years. The trade deal also puts an end to forced technology transfers and addresses issues on intellectual property protection and enforcement.
* Verizon Communications Inc. teamed up with five telcos, including South Korea-based KT Corp. and Australia-based Telstra Corp. Ltd., to create a 5G-focused forum. The 5G Future Forum will collaborate to develop uniform interoperable 5G specifications across key geographic regions to accelerate the delivery of 5G and mobile-edge computing-enabled services around the globe.
* FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. is eyeing a takeover of CapVest Partners LLP-owned medical imaging supplies provider Curium SAS, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter.
* Dentsu Group Inc. subsidiary Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd. acquired Santa Clara, Calif.,-based analytics company E-Nor Inc. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
* NTT Docomo Inc. and Sony Imaging Products & Solutions Inc. will leverage NXP Semiconductors NV's Ultra-Wideband service for a live mobile payment demonstration.
* NEXON Korea Corp. will merge with its subsidiary Nexon Red Corp. on Feb. 26, Seoul Economic Daily reports. The game developer purchased all of Nexon Red shares from Nexon GT Co. Ltd. in December 2019.
* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s next foldable phone will be called the Galaxy Z Flip, according to Korea JoongAng Daily. The device will have three cameras and will only support 4G LTE.
GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN MARKETS)
* Washington is close to issuing a new rule that would expand its powers to block shipments of foreign-made goods to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., sources told Reuters. The U.S. commerce department drafted a rule that would lower the export threshold to Huawei to 10% and expand it to include nontechnical goods, according to people familiar with the matter. If other government agencies sign off on the measure, the rule could be issued in a matter of weeks as a so-called final rule, with no opportunity for public comment before it goes into effect.
* In more Huawei news, the company said it shipped 6.9 million 5G smartphones in 2019.
* Xu Hong, China's ambassador to the Netherlands, warned that trade relations between Beijing and the European country would be damaged if semiconductor equipment supplier ASML Holding NV will not be allowed to ship its newest machines to China. Netherlands withheld the license ASML needs to export its newest machines to China following pressure from the U.S. government, according to Reuters.
* Xiaomi Corp. introduced 5G data packages in China in a bid to boost the sales of its 5G smartphones, KrASIA reports. The company's 5G data offerings include the basic package with 20 GB of data priced at 49 yuan, a 69-yuan package with 30 GB of data and a 99-yuan package with 40 GB of data. Currently, the packages are only offered to Redmi K30 users.
* Nintendo (Hong Kong) Ltd. said Nintendo Store now supports Ant Financial Services Group's Alipay and UnionPay International Co. Ltd. as payment methods.
* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat is testing a new feature that will allow publishers on the social media app to add paywalls to their posts, TechNode reports.
* ChinaNet Online Holdings Inc. will expand its corporate business and technology headquarters to Guangzhou, China. As part of the expansion, the advertising company will move its technology team to the new headquarters. The company is targeting March 2020 as its move-in date.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* Vodafone Idea Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd., Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and BSNL have submitted their respective applications for 5G field trials in India, The Economic Times (India) reports. People familiar with the matter said both Vodafone Idea and Airtel plan to work with Ericsson, Nokia Corp., Huawei and ZTE Corp. in the trials. Jio submitted an application for a trial with Samsung, while BSNL will conduct trials with ZTE.
* Spotify Technology SA struck a new global licensing agreement with Warner/Chappell Music Inc. that includes India, settling a dispute between the two companies, Music Business Worldwide reports. In 2019, Warner Music Group Corp. took Spotify to court over the streaming service's launch in India, where it offered Warner/Chappell's catalog without permission.
* National Telecommunications, the entity resulting from the merger of state-run wireless carriers CAT Telecom PCL and TOT PCL, will be a wholly owned company of Thailand's finance ministry, Krungthep Turakij reports.
* Maxis Bhd. is collaborating with Huawei for the development of a 5G TechCity in Malaysia, Digital News Asia reports. The companies will work together to deliver 4G and 5G capacity solutions, innovation in 5G network design, and to establish a 5G Innovation Lab to develop and bring new 5G use cases.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission reaffirmed that the country will make commercial 5G services a reality in May, Matichon reports. The regulator also expects to make 54.65 billion baht from the February 5G spectrum auction.
* In other NBTC news, the telecom regulator will pay 11.17 billion baht to broadcaster MCOT PCL to get 150 MHz of its 2600 MHz spectrum, Krungthep Turakij reports. NBTC needs this particular band from MCOT for the February auction.
* Malaysian wireless carrier Celcom Axiata Bhd. signed an agreement with Alliance Bank Malaysia Bhd. to offer banking and connectivity solutions for small and medium enterprises, The Sun Daily reports. One of the services being offered is Celcom Business Suite for retailers, which provides mobile and data connectivity and a customer engagement platform.
* DiGi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd. is teaming up with Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd. and Panorama Langkawi to launch a 5G-powered virtual tourism experience zone at Langkawi International Airport, The Edge Markets reports.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* ViacomCBS Inc. tapped Ten Network Holdings Ltd. CEO Paul Anderson to lead its operations across Australia and New Zealand as vice president, AdNews reports. Anderson, who has been chief executive of Ten since 2015, oversaw its acquisition by CBS in 2017.
* Vodafone New Zealand Ltd. named Jodie King as its new chief people officer replacing Antony Welton, who was recently appointed customer operations director. Katie Williams, head of human resources, will continue to act as HR director until King joins the company later this year from Air New Zealand Ltd.
Analysts skeptical as state challenge to Sprint/T-Mobile nears conclusion: Closing arguments in a multistate lawsuit challenging the deal began Jan. 15 in New York. Wall Street analysts and investors remain skeptical of the merger's approval, while policy analysts are divided.
Wireless Investor: New: Global mobile index: Kagan provides links to its current and historical profiles of mobile communications markets.
Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.
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