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Tencent buys 5% stake in Tesla; Didi mulls US$6B in funding by SoftBank

TOP NEWS

* China's Tencent Holdings Ltd. bought a 5% stake in Tesla Inc. for around US$1.78 billion, according to a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Tencent's acquisition was made through a combination of open market purchases and a common stock offering by Tesla.

* Chinese car-hailing app Didi Chuxing is assessing whether to accept a US$6 billion investment from SoftBank Group Corp., Bloomberg News reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. Existing investors Tencent Holdings Ltd. and Apple Inc. are considering joining the funding round on a pro rata basis to avoid the dilution of their stakes in the startup. Apple earlier invested US$1 billion.

* Indian telco Bharti Airtel, in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange, announced it completed the secondary sale of more than 190 million shares of its subsidiary Bharti Infratel representing 10.3% to a consortium of funds led by KKR and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board for around US$951.6 million. The Bharti Enterprises Ltd. unit said proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce its debt.

JAPAN

* TiVo Corp. unit Rovi Corp. struck a new intellectual property license agreement with DWANGO Co. Ltd. Under the deal, the Japanese network entertainment company, which operates the video-hosting service niconico, licensed a patent portfolio for streaming services.

* SoftBank Group is trying to engineer a merger between Indian e-commerce site Snapdeal, in which it holds a major stake, and larger rival Flipkart, according to The Times of India. SoftBank would invest up to US$1.5 billion in the merged company, giving it a roughly 15% stake in the new entity.

* Hitachi Ltd. announced it developed an artificial intelligence surveillance system that can pinpoint and track an individual captured on security footage in real time. Hitachi plans to commercialize the system, which analyzes an array of characteristics including clothing color and belongings, in 2018 for use in airports and train stations.

SOUTH KOREA

* South Korean tech company LG Electronics Inc. filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court of Delaware against U.S. smartphone manufacturer BLU Products Inc., alleging infringement of five LTE standard patents, Yonhap News Agency reports. The company also requested that the U.S. International Trade Commission suspend BLU smartphone sales. The final ruling on this case is expected in the second half of 2018.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. will provide faster LTE services of up to 800 Mbps starting in April, less than a year since the commercialization of 500 Mbps services in June 2016, ET News reports. The company said that network preparation is complete, and the service will become available first in Seoul and metropolitan areas. Meanwhile, the country's other telcos, KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp., are gearing up to provide 700 Mbps services.

* South Korean internet company Naver Corp. is forming a 60 billion South Korean won fund, with 35 billion won for operating common good platforms and 25 billion won for supporting small-business owners and content creators, Newsis reports. With the fund, the company aims to help internet social ventures grow by providing them with solutions in terms of online publicity and logistics.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Taiwan smartphone and laptop manufacturer Compal Electronics will pay 700 million Chinese yuan for a 2.15% stake in Leshi Zhixin, the smart TV division of LeEco, The Paper reports. The deal, which is scheduled to be completed in June, will make Compal the sixth-largest shareholder in Leshi Zhixin.

* Chinese smartphone chip and semiconductor company Unis Group received an investment of 150 billion Chinese yuan, Caixin reports. China Development Bank, which is led by China's state council, infused 100 billion yuan, with the rest coming from Sino IC Capital, which is also government-backed.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. reduced its holding of 9 million U.S. depositary shares in Chinese social network app MOMO. This was the third time that Alibaba cut its MOMO stake since August 2016, lowering its shareholding to 14% from the initial 20.7%.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Globe Telecom has landed the US$250 million Southeast Asia-U.S. submarine cable system in the Philippine city of Davao, The Philippine Daily Inquirer reports. The 14,000-kilometer subsea cable links five locations: Manado, Indonesia; Davao, Philippines; Guam; and Hawaii and California in the U.S. Once complete, the cable system will cater to the increase in bandwidth between Southeast Asia and the U.S.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service (AIS) entered a new partnership with Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. to develop Southeast Asia's first gigabit network, Bear Tai reports. The partnership aims to increase the potential of existing AIS 4G and AIS Super Wi-Fi services, and is aimed primarily at AIS subscribers using the Samsung Group unit's flagship Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge handsets.

* LINE TV's Thailand operations announced partnership deals with five new content providers including Channel 8, GMM Bravo and Sahamongkol Film International, Prachachat reports. LINE Thailand will also introduce sports and beauty categories to its video-on-demand service later this year.

* The Echonet Consortiums of Malaysia, Japan and India have signed a memorandum of understanding to partner on training for and promotion of the technology, The Star reports. The consortium, which originated in Japan and is made up of industry players such as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., Toshiba Corp., Sharp Corp. and Hitachi Ltd., aims to promote a standard for Internet of Things connectivity, particularly for home appliances.

* Two of Thailand's largest media watchdogs, the Thai Journalists Association and the Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, signed a joint statement calling on the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to reconsider its suspension of Voice TV for broadcasting allegedly seditious content, Sanook reports. They claim that such a measure undermines press freedom and existing laws against defamation.

* Representatives of Malaysia's telecommunications sector authorities are in discussions with the UAE Telecommunications Regulatory Authority regarding satellite frequencies, Telecompaper reports. The talks are addressing support for several space-based services such as broadcast satellite and fixed satellite.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Communications and Media Authority found that Foxtel, formally known as Foxtel Cable Television Pty Ltd., violated broadcast rules concerning political matter. According to the ACMA, Foxtel aired an advertisement on marriage equality but failed to acknowledge the person or entity that requested the broadcast.

* Vocus Group Ltd., formerly Vocus Communications Ltd., sold all of its stake in Australia's Macquarie Telecom Group Ltd., which is 16% of Macquarie's issued share capital. The shares were sold for A$12.20 per share. According to The Australian, the stake was offloaded for A$40.87 million.

* Jeff Latch, content director at TVNZ, will leave the company ahead of a proposed restructuring, the New Zealand Herald reports. A spokesperson for the national broadcaster said it will soon initiate recruitment for the vacated post.

* Australian telco Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd. is scheduled to shut down its 2G network starting April 3 in the Northern Territory and Western Australia, iTWire reports. Full shutdown of the old network nationwide is expected to be completed by the end of August.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* The Pakistani government will auction leftover spectrum in the 1.8 GHz and 850 MHz blocks with a base price of US$295 million in May, according to Phoneworld Pakistan.

* Balaji Telefilms Ltd. will launch its streaming platform ALT Balaji on April 16, Television Post reports. The app will debut with six new shows, be bundled on Micromax handsets and allow subscription payments through the digital wallet service MobiKwik.

* Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi Inc. plans to create a total of 20,000 jobs in India by 2020, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing Xiaomi founder Lei Jun.

FEATURED NEWS

CAPITAL Letters: Privacy, please: Internet privacy regulations are long on verbiage but short on safe guards.

With tech firms watching, Supreme Court weighs patent case: The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods, which could revamp the rules regarding where patent lawsuits can be filed.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: 3.5 GHz shared spectrum coming soon courtesy of Federated Wireless: In 2015, the FCC approved seven entities to develop Spectrum Access Systems to enable commercial users to share heretofore dedicated military spectrum across 150 MHz of spectrum in the 3.55 GHz to 3.7 GHz band.

Multichannel Trends: Profit taking slows cable shares' momentum in March: Following a whirlwind 2017 start, cable investors in the weeks since our last update took some profits off the table, sending the average share price for the top publicly traded MSOs down slightly.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke and Ed Eduard 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.