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Naspers to sell 2% of stake in Tencent; RCom in talks to sell enterprise biz

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Naspers to sell 2% of stake in Tencent; RCom in talks to sell enterprise biz

TOP NEWS

* South Africa's Naspers Ltd. plans to sell up to 190 million of Tencent Holdings Ltd. shares, representing about 2% of Tencent's total issued share capital. The sale would reduce Naspers' stake in China's Tencent to 31.2% from 33.2%. The company will use the proceeds from the sale to reinforce its balance sheet and will invest in classified, online food delivery and fintech businesses globally.

* Reliance Communications Ltd. has entered negotiations to sell its enterprise communications assets for about US$1.2 billion, which would mark its exit from Indian telecoms, the Financial Times reports, citing sources. The assets would reportedly include the indebted company's international submarine cable network, fixed-line telecoms network and data centers in India. Five companies, including I Squared Capital, have showed interest in acquiring all or part of the assets. Hong Kong-based PCCW Ltd. and Russia's Sistema PJSFC are also considering acquiring the assets, but have not yet submitted a formal bid.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group Corp.'s Vision Fund is considering an investment of up to US$150 million in Loggi, a Brazil-based service matching shippers to motorcycle couriers, Bloomberg News reports.

* SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp. announced that it will launch a product review joint venture with Japanese digital publisher ITmedia Inc. The product review service will gather user reviews of digital products and provide marketing analysis for tech developers.

* Hitachi Ltd. said it will invest an undisclosed amount in a digital startup fund managed by U.S.-based venture firm Geodesic Capital.

* NTT DOCOMO's dTV topped the list of subscription video-on-demand services in Japan in 2017, with a 20.3% share, followed by Hulu Japan with 13.5%, Variety reports, citing marketing analysis firm GEM Partners. Amazon.com Inc. nearly doubled its share to 11.5% from 5.9%, while Netflix Inc. gained to 7.1% from 4.3%.

SOUTH KOREA

* KT Corp. plans to start commercializing 5G services in March 2019, Yonhap News Agency reports. The South Korean telco said it aims to provide users with a 5G service with full mobility and nationwide coverage.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans to produce a new mid-tier mobile application processor, which will come with enhanced deep learning and image processing capabilities, The Korea Economic Daily reports.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. upgraded its roaming plan by giving users three minutes of free calls daily while travelling abroad, ET News reports.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* President Donald Trump will impose US$50 billion in tariffs on U.S. imports from China in order to curtail "unfair" trading practices and forced transfer of intellectual property from American companies doing business there, two senior White House officials told reporters. The final tariff product list, which an official described as a long one, will be identified following a public comment period and a Federal Register notice. Though the official did not specify which products may be targeted, he did say that it reflects "high technology" that has been targeted by China for intellectual property theft.

* Best Buy Co. Inc. is set to end its relationship with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Bloomberg News reports, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. The decision reportedly comes amid U.S. government concerns about Huawei's possible links to the Chinese government.

* Huawei Technologies said it understands and respects Best Buy's decision to stop selling its products in the coming weeks, Sina reports. The company emphasized that their phones are of high safety, privacy and engineering standards.

* China Central Television struck a new long-term partnership with Formula One, under which the state-owned broadcaster will air around 100 hours of live coverage across the 2018 FIA Formula 1 World Championship season.

* ZTE Corp. set up an independent subsidiary for its 5G mobile business in China, Shanghai Securities News reports. Chen Lixin, CEO of ZTE Mobile Devices and chairman of the new subsidiary, said ZTE will provide support to the new company in terms of distribution channels, branding and human resources.

* Yoozoo Pictures dismissed media reports that Amazon.com Inc. is in talks with Chinese writer Liu Cixin to make his science fiction trilogy "The Three-Body Problem" into television dramas. The company said it owns the sole copyright for the series, Sohu reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* The merger of direct-to-home operators Dish TV India Ltd. and Videocon d2h has been completed. A meeting of the board of directors of the new company, which will be called Dish TV Videocon Ltd., is scheduled for March 26.

* Idea Cellular Ltd. and Vodafone Group PLC announced the proposed leadership team of their combined business, which will come into effect after the completion of the merger. Balesh Sharma will become CEO of the combined entity; he will be responsible for the business strategy and execution as well as driving integration of the merged companies.

* Apple Inc. is considering making India an export hub and is working on a new proposal to negotiate with the government, Union Minister for Electronics and IT Ravi Shankar Prasad told The Economic Times. The iPhone maker has been in talks with India for tax breaks and incentives to produce iPhones for a couple of years but has been unsuccessful so far.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk has built 1,200 new base transceiver stations in the country, after winning the tender to operate the 2.3 GHz frequency, Kontan reports. The majority of the stations were built around Jakarta.

* LINE Thailand, a unit of Japan's LINE Corp., introduced LINE Scaleup to help local startups expand by leveraging LINE's 42 million users, Bangkok Post reports. The company has set aside 10 million baht for the program and has expressed an interest in acquiring a Thai startup.

* Thailand's state-owned CAT Telecom Public Co. Ltd. is looking for a partner to expand its underwater telecom cable network with a 2 billion baht budget, Prachachat reports. Contenders must submit their proposals by Apr. 10, and the deal will have to be signed by May, as the project is required to be completed by September.

* Harmonic Inc. and Veygo teamed up to create an end-to-end software as a service solution for over-the-top video delivery. The combined solution has already been deployed by Indonesian streaming provider AMTV for its new premium multiscreen service.

* Singtel will consolidate its subsidiaries' e-wallets into one common platform, starting with Thai mobile operator Advanced Info Service Public Co. Ltd.'s mPay, Siam Phone reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* F5 Networks Inc. named Jason Baden regional vice president of sales for Australia and New Zealand. Based in Sydney, Baden will be responsible for overseeing the organization's strategic operations to drive growth in the region.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: Upfronts 2018: Hallmark heralds snowy presentation via Facebook Live: With a snowstorm leading to the cancellation of a glitzy nighttime event for advertisers in New York, Crown Media Family Networks executives and stars instead broadcast their programming messages from Central Park via Facebook Live.

Data Dispatch: 2017 benchmarks shift in ad revenue: 2017 was a pivotal year in the shift of advertising to digital, with TV operators posting large declines in ad revenues, prompting more commentary and investment surrounding digital strategies.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: 2018 France survey summary report: VOD viewing continues to grow: Viewing of video-on-demand content is on the increase in France, due in large part to a surging subscription VOD market.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, 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.

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