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Apple cuts revenue outlook as China sales weaken; SoftBank to focus on Asia

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Apple cuts revenue outlook as China sales weaken; SoftBank to focus on Asia

TOP NEWS

* Apple Inc. cut its fiscal 2019 first-quarter revenue forecast due to weaker-than-expected iPhone sales, primarily in Greater China. In a public letter to investors, CEO Tim Cook said the company now expects revenue of US$84 billion for the quarter ended Dec. 29, 2018, down from its earlier guidance of US$89 billion to US$93 billion.

* SoftBank Group Corp. will open new offices and hire more investment professionals in Singapore and Shanghai for its early-stage investment vehicle SoftBank Ventures Korea Inc., after renaming it SoftBank Ventures Asia. The move is intended to increase SoftBank Group's venture investments globally with a focus on Asia.

* U.K. operators' exposure to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. was brought into sharp focus by the recent arrest of a top executive at the Chinese telecom giant. However, cutting commercial ties with the vendor could be difficult, analysts said.

JAPAN

* TV TOKYO Corp. struck an exclusive agreement to give its viewers martial arts content from ONE Championship, SVG News reports. The multiyear partnership will see the Japanese free-to-air broadcaster carry a full offering of ONE Championship content weekly, both live and nonlive. TV Tokyo will also promote ONE Championship content on its digital platforms, including BS TV Tokyo.

SOUTH KOREA

* Kim Jung-ju, founder of NEXON Co. Ltd., is set to sell a 98.64% stake in NXC Corp., the game developer's holding company owned by himself, his wife and his private company WiseKids, Yonhap News Agency reports. The value of the deal is reportedly estimated at about 10 trillion won, considering NXC's shares in Nexon and other businesses that it owns.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. revealed plans to merge its mobile media service platform Oksusu with over-the-top service POOQ, which is jointly operated by Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., Seoul Broadcasting System and Korean Broadcasting System, Financial News reports. Under the plan, Oksusu will be merged with POOQ service operator Content Alliance Platform Inc. to create a new corporation.

* Seoul-based cable TV operator D'Live is connecting Kakao Corp.'s artificial intelligence speakers Kakao Mini and Kakao Mini C to its new set-top box model, ETNews reports. The artificial intelligence service combines the company's own voice processing technology D-Voice and Kakao's AI platform so that users can control the set-top box with voice commands.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* PCCW Media Ltd. secured the exclusive Premier League broadcast rights in Hong Kong for the 2019-2020 to 2021-2022 seasons. Under the renewal, PCCW Media's Now TV will continue to be the exclusive licensed broadcaster in Hong Kong, delivering live coverage of all 380 matches.

* Lu Weibing, former president of Chinese smartphone manufacturer Gionee Communication Equipment Co. Ltd., has joined Xiaomi Corp., Technode reports. According to speculation, Lu will lead Meitu Inc.'s hardware business, which Xiaomi took over in November 2018. Other reports indicate Lu will be in charge of Xiaomi's international expansion.

* Acer Inc. will dissolve its virtual reality unit StarVR in the first half of 2019, according to UDN. The Taiwanese computer maker declined to comment on the report.

* Zhang Tong, Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s AI lab director, resigned in December 2018, 36Kr reports. Zhang was replaced by Zhang Zhengyou, head of the company's robotics arm Robotics X.

* Baicells, a Beijing-based startup focused on 5G technologies, raised about 100 million yuan in its series B+ funding round, Pedaily reports. Major investors include QUALCOMM Inc. and Xiaomi founder Lei Jun.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Ericsson filed its second contempt petition against Reliance Communications Ltd. Chairman Anil Ambani for nonpayment of dues worth 5.5 billion Indian rupees, The Economic Times (India) reports. The Swedish gear maker is requesting Ambani's detention in civil prison, adding that the executive should not be allowed to leave the country unless the pending dues are cleared.

* About 300 employees from embattled Aircel Cellular Ltd. and its unit Dishnet Wireless Ltd. filed a contempt petition in India's Supreme Court against the telecom department, Bharti Airtel Ltd., and its subsidiary Bharti Hexacom Ltd. for failing to ensure the return of bank guarantees worth 4.53 billion rupees. According to The Economic Times (India), the delay in returning the guarantees added to the financial woes of Aircel and Dishnet employees.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Apple is building its second Apple Developer Academy in Surabaya, Indonesia, which is set to be operational in March, Bisnis reports. This is expected to meet the local content requirement for the iPhone maker's 4G LTE products.

* Malaysian operator DiGi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd. is teaming up with local e-payment services provider ManagePay Systems Bhd. and Mastercard Inc. to launch a digital prepaid card in the first half of 2019. According to Digital News Asia, the card will enable customers to make digital payments online and in the app across merchant locations that accept Mastercard.

* Singtel Group CEO Chua Sock Koong was appointed a member of Singapore's Council of Presidential Advisers, The Straits Times reports.

* Naewna reports that Thailand-based pay TV operator TrueVisions will broadcast live and on-demand coverage of three U.S. movie award ceremonies: the Golden Globes, the Critics' Choice Movie Awards and the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The coverage will be available to Platinum, HD and Gold HD subscribers.

* Thai telcos True Corp. and Advanced Info Service PCL said they are ready to deploy teams of engineers and fleets of mobile base station cars to 16 provinces to prevent mobile and broadband disruption during the tropical storm Pabuk, iPhone Droid reports. Both telcos will have emergency teams monitoring the storm around the clock. Total Access Communication PCL also said it will ensure its mobile networks remain active during the tropical storm.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian government will give an extra A$10 million to secure the country's Viewer Access Satellite Television service until 2021. The service provides free-to-air TV services to around half a million viewers in regional Australia and in some metropolitan areas. VAST came into operation in 2010 as part of the national switchover to digital television.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: CES 2019 preview: A connected future: Recent years have seen a shift at the world's largest technology conference away from gadgetry and toward interconnectivity.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Global mobile IoT, postpaid and prepaid subscriber trends: Our analysis shows emerging economies suffer single-digit ARPUs, high prepaid composition and low 4G uptake, while predominantly postpaid Europe and North America are leveraging their networks for advanced services.

Economics of Internet: State of Malaysian online video: subscription: Subscription video services in Malaysia are shifting from content aggregation toward content creation as they focus their investments on local original offerings.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, 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.