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Apple lured in Eros library sale; Foxconn plans autonomous car facility in US

TOP NEWS

* Indian movie producer Eros Group is in discussions with Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Netflix Inc. for a possible sale of its entire content library of films and music, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing sources familiar with the matter. The company is also looking to include its digital over-the-top platform Eros Now in the planned sale that is estimated to have a deal value of about US$1 billion.

* Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., or Foxconn Technology Group, founder Terry Gou said the company is planning a multibillion-dollar investment in Michigan for research and development of autonomous cars, Caixin reports. Gou did not confirm the total amount to be invested in the U.S.

* Hearst Corp. has backed Asian streaming service iflix, leading a US$133 million funding round, while new investors such as Singapore-based EDBI also joined in. Existing shareholders Evolution Media Capital LLC, Sky plc, Catcha Group, Liberty Global plc, Jungle Ventures and PLDT Inc. also participated in the funding round.

* South Korean prosecutors requested a 12-year prison term for Samsung Group heir Lee Jae-yong over bribery charges at the final hearing in his corruption trial, The Korea Herald reports. Seoul Central District Court will give its ruling Aug. 25. Lee denied all wrongdoing when he took the stand in the trial. Four other Samsung executives involved in the same case were recommended sentences ranging from 7 to 10 years, E Daily reports.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* New York-based WeWork Cos. is investing US$500 million in Southeast Asia and South Korea. As part of the move, WeWork will acquire a Singapore-based co-working startup called Spacemob without disclosing the financial details of the deal.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group Corp.'s Sprint Corp. has resumed talks over merging with T-Mobile US Inc., sources familiar with the details told Bloomberg News. The talks, which are in the initial stages, come after Sprint's exclusivity window for talks with Comcast Corp. and Charter Communications Inc. ended in July.

* SofBank CEO Masayoshi Son expressed interest in investing in Uber Technologies Inc. or Lyft Inc. in order to enter the U.S. ride-hailing market, The Wall Street Journal reports.

* Meanwhile, SoftBank Group reported a 50.1% increase in operating profit to ¥479.3 billion for the first quarter ending June after including income from its SoftBank Vision Fund. Net profit plunged 97.8% to ¥5.5 billion, largely reflecting the previous year's profit from offloading shares in Alibaba Group.

* Toshiba Corp. may win qualified approval from its auditor for its annual financial report, staving off delisting from the Tokyo stock exchange, Jiji Press reports. Toshiba has faced disagreements with auditor Pricewaterhouse Coopers Aarata LLC over the extent of losses at its U.S. nuclear arm. Toshiba shares soared 6% on the reports of a potential compromise with PwC, according to Reuters.

* Sony Corp. returned to JPX-Nikkei 400 index, a stock index of Japanese companies with good corporate governance, the Financial Times reports. Sony was among 400 companies named to the index when it launched in 2014 but was ejected later in the year due to a string of losses.

* Tokyo taxi companies launched trials of an app-based system that gives customers a final fare at booking, a measure to help them compete with ride-hailing services such as Uber, The Nikkei reports.

SOUTH KOREA

* South Korean cable TV operator CJ HelloVision is about to strike a licensing deal with Netflix to load the streaming giant's ultrahigh-definition content on its new over-the-top box scheduled to be launched in October, ET News reports.

* Three major South Korean telcos — KT Corp., SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and LG Uplus Corp. plan to submit a written opinion to the Ministry of Science and ICT on Aug. 9 to object to the government's policy direction to cut mobile phone bills by 25%, Yonhap News Agency reports.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. introduced the Samsung Galaxy S8 Active, a new model from its S8 line, which sports a metal frame, military-grade body and a shatter-resistant screen. Set to be available in stores on Aug. 8, the phone will be exclusively available from AT&T Inc. for a limited time.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Douban, a Chinese movie portal and social media networking platform with about 300 million monthly active users, is considering an overseas IPO, Caixin reports.

* China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television recently announced new regulations asking broadcasters to stop airing foreign show adaptations at prime time and enhance their regulation of variety shows. The regulation also asks broadcasters to schedule more educational content related to culture, technology and business, People's Daily reports.

* Chinese bike-sharing company ofo added three cities to the list where a deposit is not required for bike rental, Tencent News reports. Eight cities now, including Shanghai and Guangzhou, do not take deposits from individuals with certain credit ratings, a move encouraged by the authorities. Fellow app Mobike launched a promotion program to exempt new users from deposit requirements in 150 cities.

* The People's Bank of China has signed an agreement to set up an operating platform with 44 financial companies to act as a clearing house for online payment services including Alipay and Tenpay, the South China Morning Post reports. Banks and online payment systems must be connected to the new platform by October 15, and ready to route transactions through it from June 30, 2018.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, or NBTC, said Facebook Inc. and Google Inc.'s YouTube LLC have not yet taken down all of their URLs flagged for illicit content due to errors made by the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, Post Today reports. The NBTC admitted that the two companies have so far received court orders to take down only 1,838 of the more than 3,000 flagged URLs, and have therefore not met the regulator's Aug. 7 deadline.

* Fox Networks Group is expected to launch its new on-demand video streaming service Fox+ in Malaysia, The Edge Markets reports. Senior vice-president of SVOD Digital Fox Prakash Ramchandani has stated that they are going to launch Fox+ across Southeast Asia, and Malaysia is on their priority list.

* Iflix has launched in Cambodia and entered a three-year exclusive partnership with local telco Smart Axiata to provide its customers with up to three years unlimited access to the iflix service, Digital News Asia reports.

* Singapore Press Holdings and MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture, tentatively called Singapore Media Exchange. The JV will provide a new digital advertising marketplace in Singapore with the aim of being ready in the first quarter of 2018.

* Singapore-based telco M1 Ltd. launched its first commercial nationwide network dedicated to the Internet of Things, Channel News Asia reports. The network, which is known as Narrowband Internet of Things, provides solutions such as smart energy management for buildings, fleet management, environmental monitoring and asset tracking.

* Singtel announced that it will launch its nationwide cellular Internet of Things network by end of September. The network will allow enterprises to get cost and operational efficiencies through the use of low-power IoT devices.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Under amendments to Australia's media reform bill, Google and Facebook could face a competition probe while publishers with revenue of less than A$30 million could get a 40% tax break, The Australian reports.

* Shares in media companies seen as potential merger targets, including Nine Entertainment Co., Southern Cross Austereo and Fairfax Media Ltd., spiked days before the Senate considers lifting Australia's ownership restrictions, according to The Sydney Morning Herald.

* HT&E, formerly APN News & Media Ltd., teamed up with Ireland's IKON Media & Entertainment and UK-based eSports company Gfinity Plc to launch an events business and an Australian eSports league.

* Seven West Media Ltd. picked up broadcast rights to the third season of the National Geographic fishing show "Wicked Tuna," C21 reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Bharti Airtel Ltd., through its subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure, is planning to off-load a 3.7% stake in Bharti Infratel Ltd. for about 25 billion Indian rupees to help lower the company's debt, sources aware of the development told Press Trust of India.

* Wistron Corp. is preparing for an expansion of its production facility in India that would allow the company to produce the refreshed iPhone SE, The Economic Times (India) wrote, citing a CNA report.

* Amazon India plans to make the nationwide debut of its online food retailing in India on Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, which is on Oct. 19, people with knowledge of the plan told The Economic Times (India).

* A Mumbai court has dismissed a petition filed by Reliance Jio Infocomm requesting that Bharti Airtel and Ookla should be tried for running ads that claim Airtel to be India's fastest network, saying the complaint was devoid of merit, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Tata Communications Ltd. will be investing US$50 million to hire 400 people for its cybersecurity services business to combat the increase in data theft and other cybercrimes in India, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Sanjeev Chachondia, operating partner of private equity firm New Silk Route and former CEO of Loop Mobile, is believed to have become the frontrunner to head Brookfield Asset Management Inc.'s tower business in India, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Wipro Ltd. announced that its big data analytics-as-a-service solution Data Discovery Platform is now available on Microsoft Corp.'s Microsoft Azure.

FEATURED NEWS

Theater stocks get pummeled as 2017 box office struggles: Recent earnings results from movie exhibitors reflect a struggling box office that executives promise is cyclical, not secular.

CAPITAL Letters: Fear of disruption may be overstated in media, communications: Given all the turmoil unleashed by the digital revolution, we may be erroneously seeing everything as a devastating disruption rather than just challenging competition.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Advertising: Viacom's stock sinks following fiscal Q3 earnings: Viacom Inc.'s domestic cable network ad revenue was down 1.6% year over year for the quarter ended June 30.

The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended Aug. 4.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Wil Hathaway 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.