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Singapore's 5G rollout; Korean mergers on hold; Huawei revenue up despite US ban

TOP NEWS

* Singapore unveiled plans to begin deployment of 5G services in 2020, with the next-generation wireless service expected to cover at least half of the city-state by end-2022. The Infocomm Media Development Authority, Singapore's telecom regulator, will facilitate the rollout of two nationwide stand-alone 5G networks. It called on the country's mobile network operators — M1 Ltd., Singtel, StarHub Ltd. and TPG Telecom Ltd. — to submit bids for one of two 3.5 GHz spectrum packages that will be used for stand-alone networks.

* The Korea Fair Trade Commission postponed its ruling on LG U+'s proposed acquisition of a majority stake in cable TV operator CJ Hello, with FTC officials saying they would revisit the agenda after reviewing a similar case, The Korea Herald reports. This similar case is reportedly SK Broadband's merger with t-broad Holdings Co. Ltd. Following the FTC decision, SK Broadband's parent company, SK Telecom Co. Ltd., announced that it made amendments to the transaction's timetable, with the merger date changed to March 1, 2020, from Jan. 1, 2020. The company cited "delay in the review process from relevant agencies" as the main reason for the postponement.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. reported revenue of 610.8 billion yuan in the first three quarters of 2019, a 24.4% year-over-year increase, despite periods of uncertainty over whether it will be allowed to trade with the U.S. The company secured more than 60 5G commercial contracts with global operators in the first three quarters. Meanwhile, the telecom provider recorded smartphone shipments of over 185 million units in the first three quarters of 2019, up 26% year over year.

* Australia-based Seven West Media Ltd. said it will merge with regional TV broadcaster Prime Media Group Ltd. through a 100% scrip-based scheme of arrangement. Following the completion of the deal, Seven West Media shareholders will own 90% of the combined entity, with Prime Media shareholders holding the remaining 10%. The company will also divest its Western Australian radio assets to Southern Cross Media Group Ltd. for a cash consideration of A$28 million.

JAPAN

* Panasonic Corp. recruited Yoky Matsuoka, chief technology officer of Google Nest, to be a director-level fellow leading the development of connected appliances, The Nikkei reported. Matsuoka will be based in Silicon Valley and establish a team of engineers to create software for appliance user-friendliness.

* Japan Display Inc. CEO Minoru Kikuoka said the company expects to return to profitability in the second half of the fiscal year ending March 2020, according to Kyodo News. The struggling LCD joint venture between Sony Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Toshiba Corp. is projecting a boost from new OLED products.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is preparing a software patch to solve problems related to the fingerprint recognition function of its Galaxy S10 smartphone, Reuters reported. The patch comes after a Galaxy S10 user complained that a non-registered fingerprint was able to unlock his handset after applying a third-party screen protector on the device.

* SK Telecom, KT Corp. and LG U+ will begin taking preorders for iPhone 11 on Oct. 18, ZDNet Korea reports. The newest handset model from Apple Inc. will officially launch in Korea on Oct. 25.

GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN MARKETS)

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. announced a partnership with Universal Beijing Resort that will see the theme park leveraging the Alibaba Business Operating System, a suite of services and digital tool offerings, to digitize the operations and management of the resort.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. is venturing further into the education and hardware manufacturing sector as it plans a 2020 launch for an artificial intelligence-powered product that will "accompany" children while they are studying, Caixin Global reported.

* Huawei launched a suite of technology tools for businesses using 5G networks, Sina reported. Among them is ADN Mobile, which targets self-driving cars.

* Baidu Inc.'s smart device brand Xiaodu entered a partnership with music-streaming platform Lizhi, 36Kr reported. Under the tie-up, Xiaodu's smart speaker will have access to Lizhi's audio resources and add interactive voice response to improve user experience.

* Qutoutiao Inc. said its e-book business Midu raised US$100 million in a series B financing round led by CMC Capital Partners. According to Sina, the company intends to use the fresh capital for acquiring content, constructing a content creator ecosystem and marketing purposes.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* ByteDance-owned video app TikTok launched an education program in India by teaming up with local education technology startups and content creators to produce educational videos for the platform, TechCrunch reported. TikTok's educational content covers a range of topics, from school-level science and math concepts to learning new languages. The app also features videos that offer tips on health and mental awareness, as well as motivational talks.

* Xiaomi Corp. is moving away from its image as a budget brand by expanding its product portfolio in India to include pricier, high-spec smartphones and smart TVs, Reuters reported. The Chinese company also plans to open 10,000 stores by mid-2020 and launch a consumer lending business in the South Asian country.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. tapped Ericsson to strengthen its core network in India. Under the tie-up, Ericsson will deploy its 5G-ready Cloud Packet Core and other services on Airtel's network.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Indonesia-based telecom operator XL Axiata is collaborating with Huawei to develop core network technology, Katadata reported. Through this technology, XL Axiata can manage the traffic in 2G to 5G networks.

* Malaysian mobile carrier Celcom Axiata Bhd. launched digital communication and operational solutions catered for retail businesses, Berita Harian reported. Celcom Business Suite for Retail comprises features such as mobile connectivity, wireless internet, big data allocation and sales and marketing solutions.

* Tencent (Thailand) Co. Ltd. is rebranding Sanook.com, Prachachat reports. Under the new roadmap, Sanook's services will now include an application and a specialized news platform called Sanook77.co.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Ltd. is combining data assets across its whole business, including 9Now, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, Domain, Pedestrian Group and CarAdvice. The move will see the creation of an addressable marketplace aimed at providing marketers with the ability to target specific audiences at scale within a premium brand-safe environment.

* In more Nine news, the Australian media giant introduced cost per completed view on its short-form and long-form video products. According to Nine Chief Sales Officer Michael Stephenson, marketers and advertisers will only pay for ad views that have a 100% completion rate.

* Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. restructured its sales and marketing departments as the pay TV provider seeks a closer alignment between the Foxtel and Fox Sports teams, Mumbrella reports. Retail and commercial sales have been combined under one dedicated sales division, while three creative teams have been unified as one team for better brand consistency across the Foxtel Group.

FEATURED NEWS

AI's large carbon footprint poses risks for big tech: Advancing AI and other technologies at the expense of the environment is not worth it, industry experts said, who urged the tech industry to ramp up its sustainability efforts.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Thai TV market strives for transformation, return to growth: Thailand's new era helps its struggling media market.

RECENT EARNINGS

TSMC sees increase in China revenue in Q3'19: The Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer's North America revenues decreased as a proportion of the total in the third quarter, as the company diversifies customers and product portfolios in response to the China-U.S. trade war.

Competition impacts Netflix Q4 guidance as Q3 represents 'sigh of relief': Netflix reported a third-quarter that one analyst called "a sigh of relief," and executives tried to assuage concerns as streaming competition is set to escalate rapidly in the fourth quarter and beyond.

Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway 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.