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In This List

Streaming tax in South Korea; SoftBank's US$110M investment; Alibaba's growth

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Streaming tax in South Korea; SoftBank's US$110M investment; Alibaba's growth


* The South Korean government is conducting a review of streaming platforms, such as YouTube LLC and Netflix Inc., to determine if they should be subject to certain taxes, The Korea Herald reported. Under the current system, terrestrial broadcasters and cable channels are required to pay between 2% and 4% of their annual advertising revenue to help bolster the local broadcasting and communications industry. As streaming platforms have become more popular, some in the country are demanding that streaming businesses also contribute to the fund.

* SoftBank Group Corp.'s SoftBank Vision Fund LP invested US$110 million in energy storage startup Energy Vault SA. SoftBank Vision Fund's investment is its first in energy storage technology and will be used to accelerate the global deployment of Energy Vault's technology. Andreas Hansson, partner at SoftBank Investment Advisers, will join the Energy Vault board as part of the investment.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. appears to have been sheltered from the fallout of a trade war with the U.S. so far after the Chinese e-commerce giant delivered earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 that came in above analysts' expectations. Alibaba Executive Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai noted that the company's business "continues to do well" despite uncertain macroeconomics characterized by slower global growth and the trade war.


* Dentsu Inc. announced it will carry out a mobility-as-a-service demonstration with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology on self-driving land- and water-linked multimodal transport methods. The proof-of-concept will take place in Tokyo in September.


* LG Electronics Inc. is linking up with Xiaomi Corp.'s internet of things arm, Lumi United Technologies, to develop artificial intelligence-based smart home services, Yonhap News Agency reported. The companies will also jointly showcase their smart home devices during the tech show Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, Germany.


* German food retailer Metro AG extended the deadline for submitting bids for its China operations to next week, Reuters reported. The report said a consortium consisting of Chinese startup Meicai and Hopu Investments might place an offer for the business. It was previously reported that Walmart Inc., Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Alibaba — working with Taiwanese hypermarket chain RT MART International Ltd. — were considering taking part in the auction.

* China's internet regulator warned app operators over data privacy saying that a large number of apps show "abnormal behavior," which include detecting other apps or reading and writing user device files, posing a potential security threat to the user's information security, the South China Morning Post reported.

* Microsoft (China) Co. Ltd. launched the Avatar framework in China, according to 36Kr. The framework includes sets of artificial intelligence toolkits such as dialogue tools.

* Baidu Inc. partnered with Elektrobit Automotive GmbH, a subsidiary of Continental AG, to work on self-parking technology, Gasgoo reported. Elektrobit will also provide technologies for Apollo, Baidu's autonomous driving unit.

* YY Inc., the live-streaming video platform, entered a partnership with Beijing-based music company YueHua Entertainment Co.Ltd. Under the agreement, Yuehua's singers will open live streaming channels on YY, and YY will provide traffic and resources.


* The National Payments Corporation of India, or NPCI, confirmed that it has received the data localization compliance system audit report from WhatsApp Inc., Mint reported. NPCI said it will review the report in the next few weeks.

* Toyota Material Handling North America selected Infosys Ltd. for a cloud-based internet of things telematics product implementation along with application support and development for its systems, applications, and products in data processing platform, The Economic Times (India) reported. Under the collaboration, Infosys will aid remote monitoring and diagnostic capabilities including vehicle access control, system maintenance, condition sensing and location tracking.


* Temasek Holdings (Pte.) Ltd.'s units, Aspen Holdings and Anderton Investments, launched a block trade on Wednesday for 15.6 billion Thai baht, or 8.02% stake in Thai telco Intouch Holdings Public Co. Ltd., Reuters reported. Intouch did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for comment.

* Indonesian venture capital firm Kejora Ventures and South Korea-based InterVest Co. Ltd. made an investment in Jakarta-based tech startup PT Distribusi Voucher Nusantara Tbk or DIVA, KrASIA reported, citing a company statement. The investment was made through the InterVest Star SEA Growth Fund I, a joint fund between Kejora and InterVest. The deal was carried out via a sales and purchase agreement with IT management company M Cash Integrasi, which sold a portion of its 12.3% shareholding in DIVA.

* Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. teamed up with Maxis Bhd. to offer fiber broadband and content packages. The two companies are hoping to earn more revenue and tap new markets by leveraging each other's capabilities.

* Russia-based Kaspersky Lab ZAO collaborated with CyberSecurity Malaysia to open its first transparency center in Malaysia, Mint reported.


* CBS Corp.-owned Network Ten Pty Ltd. announced it will extend its content partnership with Facebook Inc. that will see the Australian broadcaster produce more exclusive and original social content. The partnership will see Ten create content from shows including "The Bachelor Australia," "The Bachelorette Australia," "Bachelor In Paradise," "The Living Room," "I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here" and "The Loop."


Analysts question Netflix strategy as costs and competition grow: The streamer could better balance promoting big-budget originals with retaining user favorites as its list of rivals grows, analysts said.


Global Multichannel: Viacom prepares international rollout of Pluto TV: Viacom Inc. plans to roll out ad-supported video-on-demand platform Pluto TV in key markets outside the U.S. to extend its global presence.


Alibaba Q1'20 EPS beats Street but revenue growth slows: In premarket trading in New York, Alibaba's shares were indicated to open up US$5.64, or 3.48%, at US$167.70.

Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.