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Tencent forming giant healthcare network in China; Docomo may sell Italian unit

TOP NEWS

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. is merging its medical unit Tencent Doctorwork with Shanghai-based platform Trusted Doctors, to form a bigger private healthcare network in China, South China Morning Post reports. The new business venture, called Tencent Trusted Doctors, will offer online and offline services across 33 clinics in eight cities. It will have Tencent Doctorwork founder Wang Renrui as CEO, while CEO of Trusted Doctors, Martin Shen, will serve as president.

* NTT Docomo Inc. is considering off-loading its Italian mobile content company Buongiorno, Financial Times reports, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter. The Japanese mobile operator reportedly approached banks and advisers with an intent to sell the Italian unit, six years after it acquired the business for US$267 million in 2012.

* Manbang Group is seeking to raise US$1 billion in a new financing round that could take the startup's valuation to US$10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources. The Chinese truck-hailing platform is reportedly in talks with U.S.-based mutual funds and late-stage investors to raise new funds, which will be used to expand its local operations and domestic acquisitions. The company also plans to venture into autonomous trucking. Its investors include SoftBank Group Corp., Tencent Holdings and Alphabet Inc.'s late-stage venture investment fund, CapitalG.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group is looking to invest US$500 million to US$750 million in Zume Pizza Inc., a California-based startup that uses robots to create and deliver pizza, Bloomberg News reports.

* KDDI Corp. announced an investment in Tokyo-based Euphoria K.K., the developer of a platform called One Tap Sports that analyzes athlete data. The investment was made through the KDDI Open Innovation Fund 2.

* NTT Comware Corp. announced an alliance with Nippon Car Solutions Co. Ltd. to jointly develop artificial intelligence-driven systems that gauge the accuracy of automobile maintenance billing.

SOUTH KOREA

* NAVER Corp.'s online cartoon unit Naver Webtoon CORP. formed a studio to produce films based on its webtoon content, Maeil Business reports. Studio N will have Kwon Mi-kyung, former managing director of CJ E&M, as CEO.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. applied its voice recognition AI service Nugu to the Vista Walkerhill Seoul hotel. The AI service helps guests control and manage room conditions.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* IQIYI Inc. inked a new multiyear deal with Viacom Inc.'s Viacom International Media Networks to stream a number of Nickelodeon (US) shows in China. Under the expanded agreement, iQIYI gets exclusive streaming rights for Mandarin and English Nickelodeon programs in mainland China on iQIYI's platforms for kids.

* Beijing Byte Dance Technology Co. Ltd.'s Douyin secured deals with Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group Corp. and Taihe Music Group, allowing the Chinese mini music-video platform access to all their tracks, Jiemian reports.

* Meitu Inc. said it will reform its corporate structure by dividing the company into three major business units: social product, beauty product and smart hardware product.

* China Unicom confirmed that Beijing will be a major base for the company's 5G network construction and trials, Sina reports. The telco also revealed plans to apply 5G technologies in media broadcasting and virtual reality livestreaming of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Facebook Inc. will rework the functioning of its top management in India, which includes appointing a new country head, who will be designated managing director and vice president, The Economic Times (India) reports. Meanwhile, the Facebook-owned messaging platform WhatsApp Inc. has begun rolling out its message-forwarding limit for users in India, according to IANS. The company earlier said that users in India will have a lower forwarding limit of five messages.

* Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. removed 35 live TV channels and more than 200,000 hours of video-on-demand content from Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. after failing to agree on pricing, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing sources. The decision was reportedly made Aug. 6 and involves discontinuing a multiyear deal struck between the two companies in 2016.

* Dish TV India Ltd. launched its Skill for Amazon.com Inc.'s AI-powered assistant Alexa in India. Once enabled, the DishTV Skill for Alexa allows the user to interact with DishTV through voice commands and can search for programs, movies, sports and music by summoning the virtual assistant. The DishTV Skill for Alexa can be accessed on all Alexa-enabled devices such as Amazon Echo, Echo Plus, Echo Spot and Echo Dot.

* Essel Group's Essel Green Mobility invested 3 billion Indian rupees in urban mobility startup ZipGo Technologies, The Economic Times (India) reports.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* MEASAT Broadcast Network Systems, a subsidiary of broadcasting company Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd., secured a 380 million ringgit loan from Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp.'s Malaysia unit, New Straits Times reports. The term loan would be used to fund costs related to producing and purchasing content, as well as CapEx for broadcast and transmission, and acquisition of platforms.

* Indonesian e-payment company PayTren inked an agreement to acquire a minority stake in PT Info Media Digital, The Jakarta Post reports. The company purchased a 5% interest in the operator of the Tempo news portal for 27.3 billion Indonesian rupiah.

* PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk Managing Director Alex Sinaga said the company is consolidating its group's satellite business under one subsidiary, Indotelko reports. TelkomSat will be the new name of PT Patra Telekomunikasi Indonesia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Telkom that has been providing maritime broadband services.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service PCL will partner with Workpoint Entertainment PCL to broadcast the 2018 Asian Games live in AIS Play and AIS Playbox, SiamPhone reports. The live coverage begins Aug. 14 and ends Sept. 2, and will be made available to AIS customers at no extra cost.

* LINE Corp.'s Thailand unit released figures showing that more than 95% of the country's 45 million internet users use the LINE platform, Manager reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Spark New Zealand Ltd. outlined its 5G rollout schedule, which includes plans to open a 5G innovation lab in late 2018 and launch 5G services in 2020.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: Cable group previews potential of 10 gigabit networks: Many industry observers wonder how people will use next-generation networks — whether wireless or fixed — which has implications for how the networks are funded and built.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Hulu, Netflix content viewing grows in Q2, placing them atop the field: Hulu and Netflix, two of the top three largest subscription over-the-top video services in the U.S., measured significantly higher content viewing totals than their peers in the second quarter, according to comScore Video Metrix data.

RECENT EARNINGS

Tribune CEO pledges to hold Sinclair 'accountable for its actions' with lawsuit: Following the end of the Sinclair deal, Tribune executives said the company stands ready to execute on several fronts, including in pursuing a lawsuit against Sinclair and remaining open to new alternatives for growth.

CenturyLink grows its bottom line, moves away from 'empty calorie revenue': Speaking during an Aug. 8 earnings conference call, CenturyLink CEO Jeffrey Storey said, "We do not focus ... on empty calorie revenue — that is, contracts or services with very low or no margin."

Joji Sakurai, Nicole Shiwon Kim, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard 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.