* Foxconn Industrial Internet Co. Ltd. is planning to raise up to 27.1 billion yuan in an initial public offering in China, Bloomberg News reports, citing a filing to the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd.'s smart factory unit will offer 1.97 billion shares in Shanghai at 13.77 yuan share, reportedly valuing the company at about US$43 billion.
* As expected, SoftBank Group Corp. agreed to sell its 21% interest in Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. to Walmart Inc., The Economic Times (India) reports, citing a source familiar with the deal. SoftBank invested nearly US$2.5 billion in Flipkart through its Vision Fund and is expected to make close to US$4 billion on its investment, according to the report. U.S. retail giant Walmart said earlier this month that it plans to buy a 77% stake in the Indian e-commerce company for US$16 billion.
* Sony Corp. unit Sony Corp. of America signed an agreement to acquire Mubadala Investment Co.'s 60.2% equity interest in DH Publishing LP, which owns and manages EMI Music Publishing, for US$1.9 billion. Following the transaction, Sony will indirectly own about 90% of the music publishing firm. Sony expects to pay a total cash consideration of US$2.3 billion to consolidate EMI Music, and will assume its debt of about US$1.36 billion.
* In more Sony news, the company outlined a three-year corporate direction and mid-term strategy plan ending March 31, 2021, which aims to reinforce direct-to-consumer services and content, make its branded hardware business "sustainable and consistent cash flow generating," and "maintain" its leadership in imaging applications.
* Uber Technologies Inc. obtained the Japanese government's approval to launch a taxi-hailing pilot program in Awaji, a remote island in the country, Bloomberg News reports. Uber primarily operates as a car-hailing service in Tokyo.
* In other SoftBank Group news, the company closed the early redemption of its foreign currency denominated senior notes issued in 2013.
* NTT Docomo and China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. jointly completed successful trials of wireless backhauling functionality between a 5G base station and a 5G relay node using 39GHz signals.
* Samsung Group unit Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is set to open three new AI research centers in the U.K., Canada and Russia on May 22, May 24 and May 29, respectively. The company already has AI centers in South Korea and the U.S.
* KT Corp. is going to apply Personalized-Text To Speech technology, which synthesizes speech in the voice of a particular person, to its AI speaker GiGA Genie, Financial News reports. The company will first launch a promotional game based on P-TTS technology.
* Three South Korean telcos — SK Telecom Co. Ltd., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — have joined forces to enter the electronic authentication market under a shared brand, PASS, in the second half of this year, ET News reports. The three companies will jointly upgrade their respective identity authentication services into the same PASS application, and the existing users will be automatically changed to PASS users.
CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
* Baidu Inc. agreed with a number of investors to divest a majority equity stake in its global ad and tools business, or Global DU business. The Chinese search giant will no longer have effective control over Global DU business upon completion of the deal and will be left with 34% of the latter's outstanding shares.
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Ant Financial Services Group is set to close a US$10 billion fundraising round that would push the company's valuation beyond US$150 billion, the Financial Times reports, citing people involved in the transaction.
* Ant Financial Services Group also led an over US$200 million funding round in Orbbec, a 3-D sensing company based in Shenzhen, PEdaily reports. Orbbec's 3D sensors are mainly used in areas including robotics, human-less retail stores and smart home devices.
* The U.S. and China have agreed on a "broad outline" of a deal that would seek to lift a U.S. ban on Chinese telecommunications firm ZTE Corp. In turn, ZTE has to implement "big changes" in management and board seats, and possibly pay hefty fines, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.
* The U.S. Congress began negotiations on a bill aimed at further restricting Chinese investments in certain sectors, especially technology, the Financial Times reports. Authors of the bill said it would give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., or CFIUS, more powers to scrutinize Chinese investments.
* Iqiyi Inc. opened its first on-demand movie theater in China. Baidu's online video platform plans to open more Yuke movie theaters in first- and second-tier cities "to increase the strength and overall scale of China's film industry," Iqiyi Senior Vice President Yang Xianghua said in a statement.
* Alibaba Group-backed SenseTime Group Ltd. has teamed up with Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corp. to set up an AI hub in Hong Kong. The HKAI Lab will be a nonprofit accelerator program and will be financed by Alibaba's US$130 million entrepreneurship fund in Hong Kong, TechCrunch reports.
* Xiaomi Corp. has officially launched in France, as tweeted by its Senior Vice President Wang Xiang. The smartphone maker will enter the Italian market in a couple of days, according to South China Morning Post.
* Ultrain Technology Ltd., a Hangzhou-based blockchain technology startup, raised more than 10 million yuan through angel round funding, 36kr reports. The investment will go to R&D and building a global community.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* Anil Ambani-owned Reliance Communications Ltd. and its subsidiaries have filed petitions in an appellate tribunal to stop insolvency proceedings against them following a petition from Swedish telecom giant Ericsson, The Economic Times (India) reports.
* Bharti Airtel Ltd., Vodafone India and Reliance Jio are looking into deploying blockchain technology-based platforms as the telcos seek to create new revenue streams and lower operational costs, people familiar with the matter told The Economic Times (India).
* Balaji Telefilms Ltd.-owned ALTBalaji, an over-the-top platform, will offer more than 100 hours of original content in 2018 and is currently working 50 new concepts to produce more shows this year, Television Post reports, citing Manav Sethi, ALTBalaji's chief marketing officer.
* Banijay Group's Asia unit struck a deal with Salman Khan TV, actor Salman Khan's production company, to create content across television and digital formats for India and Southeast Asia, Mint reports.
* PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk partnered with Cisco Systems Inc. unit Cisco International Ltd. signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in the digital transformation of state-owned entities in Indonesia. The collaboration includes several aspects such as network solution, cybersecurity, hybrid cloud, and talent development.
* Singtel, through its subsidiary Singtel Enterprise Security (US) Inc., a cybersecurity service provider, now has full ownership of Chicago-based Trustwave Ltd. after it acquired the remaining 2% stake for US$12 million, The Edge reports.
* GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. entered into a partnership with Malayan Banking Bhd., or Maybank, to support Grab's cashless payment offering. Grab customers will be able to use their Grab wallet in Maybank's key merchant and top up their credit through Maybank's internet banking.
* Bangkok Broadcasting & TV Co. Ltd.'s Channel 7 paid the fifth installment of its digital TV license fee, totaling 372 million Thai baht, Prachachat reports. The deadline for fifth installment payments is May 23, but the regulator is giving operators 120 days to pay the fee before facing suspension.
* LINE Corp.'s Thailand unit released new figures on its platform LINE Today's second anniversary, showing the service has 32 million users, 1 billion reads per month and over 120 content partners, Prachachat reports.
* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission used new powers to immediately withdraw TV and online ads for 35 illegal food supplements and cosmetic products, screened by channels including Spring News and Nation TV, Matichon reports. The offending ads and URLs were all spotted during a sweep from May 16 to May 18.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* APN Outdoor Group Ltd. made a bid to acquire 100% of HT&E Ltd.'s advertising business Adshel in Australia and New Zealand for A$500 million, besting the A$470 million offer of rival oOh!media Ltd., APN said in a filing to the Australian Stock Exchange.
* Indian ride-hailing service ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd., or Ola, expanded to three more Australian cities, namely Brisbane, Gold Coast and Canberra, following its launch in Perth, Sydney and Melbourne. Ola is working with local stakeholders to continue its Australian expansion, aiming to launch in more cities including Adelaide, Darwin and Hobart.
* Big Un Ltd. subsidiary BIG Review TV Ltd.'s directors placed BRTV into voluntary administration "to allow for the restructure of its business" and "preserve value for shareholders." Big Un also announced the immediate resignation of its CEO Richard Evertz. The tech company has been suspended from the ASX for over three months as the stock exchange and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission investigate its conduct, The Australian reports.
Data Dispatch: Deutsche Telekom to preserve German dominance despite Vodafone-LG challenge: Deutsche Telekom has criticized the proposed combination of Vodafone and Liberty Global in its domestic German market, warning of a cable monopoly. However, its overall home dominance is unlikely to be challenged.
Wireless Investor: Cooperation across the globe to accelerate new era of 5G: Next-gen 5G technology is a monumental challenge for the global market. It promises untold advances but is a total departure from predecessor technologies. World carriers have together launched a full-court press to make it happen.
Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke and Kevin Osmond contributed to this report. The Daily Dose has an editorial deadline of 7 a.m. Hong Kong time.
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