* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will provide 4G LTE-Advanced and 5G radio access networks solutions to Videotron Ltd., a Canadian telecom operator that plans to launch commercial LTE-A and 5G services in late 2020. The deal marks Samsung's first entry into Canada.
* Tokyo-based medical technology company HOYA Corp. plans to make an offer for NuFlare Technology Inc. if the latter's parent Toshiba Corp. does not successfully complete its tender offer to fully own the unit. Hoya said if certain conditions are met, it will launch its own tender offer for NuFlare at a price of ¥12,900 per share, or a total of about ¥147.72 billion. Hoya aims to acquire at least 7,634,000 shares, or about 66.67%, of NuFlare, a maker of semiconductor equipment. Toshiba owns 52.4% of NuFlare.
* South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT gave a conditional nod to LG U+'s proposed acquisition of a majority stake in CJ Hello, securing the final approval needed to complete the merger of the mobile carrier and cable TV provider, according to The Korea Herald's The Investor. Under the terms of the conditional approval, LG U+ is required to offer 5G and LTE wireless broadband communication services to local mobile virtual network operators and is banned from forcing existing users of CJ Hello's cheaper services to switch to more expensive data options.
* KDDI Corp.'s board of directors decided to have LDEX Preparatory succeed an absorption-type split of the business involved in the planning and operation of Video Pass, a flat-fee and pay-as-you-go video streaming service. Half of the LDEX shares will be transferred to TV Asahi Holdings Corp. from KDDI on the effective date of the transaction, after which KDDI and TV Asahi will jointly operate LDEX.
* Toshiba is preparing for a swift return to the Tokyo Stock Exchange's first section to raise capital for future investments, following its 2017 demotion due to losses from its U.S. nuclear unit. The company's decision comes after the Japanese bourse eased requirements for second section-listed companies to apply for a transfer to the first section.
* NTT Docomo Ventures Inc. invested an undisclosed sum in San Francisco-based Vcognition Technologies, a provider of solutions for automated checkout stores.
* KT Corp. applied the international mobile subscriber identity service to Android smartphones to strengthen user security, ZDNet Korea reports. The service is automatically available with the latest Android OS update in Samsung Galaxy S10 handsets and will be rolled out to other devices gradually.
* In other KT news, the telecom operator plans to launch a mapping service using its geographic information system Geo Master, ET News reports. KT expects the map service to serve as an integrated mobility engine by combining vehicle, public transportation and pedestrian information into a single platform.
GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN MARKETS)
* Apple Inc.'s iPhone shipments in mainland China dropped by more than 35% in November compared with the same period in 2018, Reuters reports, citing Credit Suisse. The November figures are the iPhone's second consecutive double-digit decline as sales of the cheaper iPhone 11 remained sluggish. Apple's market share in China fell to 5% from 7% in the third quarter, while Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. captured 42% of Beijing's smartphone market in the same period.
* Telenor ASA selected Ericsson to build its 5G radio access network in Norway. The network modernization may take around four to five years. In light of this timeline, Telenor will continue using equipment from existing RAN vendor Huawei to maintain the 4G network and to upgrade to 5G coverage in selected areas of Norway.
* Huawei obtained a license from China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology to operate the core telecom infrastructure for 5G network, which supports the integration of 2G, 3G, 4G and 5G networks, C114 reports.
* ZTE Corp. will introduce 10 5G smartphones in 2020, Xu Feng, president of ZTE's mobile device division, said in an interview with The Paper. Some models of the 5G devices will be priced below 3,000 yuan.
* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. established a joint venture with a state-owned Chinese media company to develop artificial intelligence and blockchain business lines, Bloomberg News reports. A subsidiary of ByteDance holds 49% of the 10 million yuan JV, while Shanghai Dongfang Newspaper Co. Ltd. owns the remaining 51%.
* HKBN Ltd. completed its acquisition of Jardine OneSolution Holdings (CI) Ltd. and its subsidiaries from JTH (BVI) Ltd. for US$50 million in cash. The closing comes after HKBN voted in favor of the acquisition at its Dec. 12 extraordinary general meeting. Billy Yeung, HKBN co-owner and enterprise solutions CEO, will lead a team for the integration process.
* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s battle royale title, "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds Mobile," and its relaunched version "Game for Peace," have raked in more than US$1.5 billion since launch, according to app analytics company Sensor Tower.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* Indian digital wallet Paytm Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd.'s parent One97 Communications Ltd. is set to allocate 2.6 million shares to investors, Reuters reports, citing a company filing. A source said the allotment is part of the company's latest US$1 billion fundraising round, which was participated by global investors Ant Financial Services Group, SoftBank Vision Fund LP, Discovery Capital Partners Ltd. and T. Rowe Price Associates Inc.
* NEC Corp. plans to increase its revenue in India to US$1 billion from $400 million in five years through offshore support centers, smart city projects and 5G. The South Asian country is one of the focus areas and key markets for the Japanese company, NEC CEO Takashi Niino told The Economic Times (India) in an interview.
* Axiata Group Bhd. unit Axiata Digital Capital and Great Eastern Holdings Ltd. signed a strategic partnership to provide insurance and Islamic insurance products across Malaysia and Indonesia. The services are targeted toward consumers, micro entrepreneurs, and medium-sized enterprises and will be offered on Axiata's Aspirasi digital financing platform and its partner platforms.
* The Singaporean government invoked a fake news law to order the Singapore Democratic Party to publish corrections on two Facebook posts and an article on its website. According to Reuters, this is the third time authorities have used the law since it came into effect October. However, this is the first time the city-state used the law against a political party.
* StarHub Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding with the National University of Singapore to pilot virtual reality and artificial intelligence solutions in a net-zero energy building on campus. The parties will also develop use cases to demonstrate the application of 5G technology to learning, research and industry needs.
* CAT Telecom PCL will bring smart-city solutions from Taiwan-based Chunghwa Telecom to Thailand, Blognone reports. The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on three to five large-scale smart projects in 2020.
* Indonesian digital reality company WIR Group is planning an initial public offering in 2020 to raise up to US$50 million, Nikkei Asian Review reports.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will issue rules to regulate the use of internet of things devices within the first quarter of 2020, Prachachat reports.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Foxtel Cable Television Pty. Ltd. struck a new agreement with Discovery Inc. to add more factual, lifestyle and entertainment content from Discovery Channel, TLC, Discovery Turbo and Animal Planet on the pay TV platform.
Digital banking supremacy hinges on user experience, not just high rates: While several online banks have gained traction by offering rates well above the industry average, companies appear to be more focused on a seamless customer experience. That could mean less pressure on deposit pricing but more on tech investment.
Technology: Bump in global smartphone shipments in Q3'19 breaks 7 quarters of declines: Global shipments in third quarter improved slightly, breaking seven straight quarters of year-on-year declines, signaling a possible return to growth.
Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.
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