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Apple wins patent case in China; Samsung apologizes to shareholders

TOP NEWS

* Apple Inc. notched up a victory in the Beijing Intellectual Property Court, which overturned a ruling claiming Apple had infringed on the patents of Shenzhen Baili Marketing Services Co., The Wall Street Journal reports. The initial ruling resulted in a sales ban of Apple's iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in China, which was immediately lifted pending Apple's appeal.

* At its annual shareholders meeting, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., through its Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun, apologized to shareholders for the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco, as well as for the company's involvement in a corruption scandal, but denied allegations that the company paid bribes through donations, the U.K.'s The Telegraph reports.

JAPAN

* Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Entertainment has been wooing Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. CEO Kevin Tsujihara to replace its outgoing chief executive Michael Lynton, but the prospects have dimmed due to Tsujihara's current Warner commitments, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Other candidates of interest are Thomas Staggs, former COO of the Walt Disney Co., and former Fox Networks Group Chairman Tony Vinciquerra. Fox Networks Group is a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc.

* Toshiba Corp. is finalizing bankruptcy plans for Westinghouse Electric Co. LLC, the embattled U.S. nuclear unit threatening Toshiba's own survival, Kyodo reports, citing sources. Creditors would like to see a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing by the end of the March 31 fiscal year, but the filing could be delayed until April.

* Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. is mulling a seventh consecutive dividend raise amid strong core business performance, even as some doubt whether the company can continue growing in certain technology sectors, The Nikkei reports. Japan's biggest telco aims to pay out ¥120 per share for the fiscal year ending March.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics will put off its plan to transition to a holding company, which has been under review officially since November 2016, as there are "negative effects" regarding the plan, executives said at an annual shareholders meeting, according to Money Today.

* In other Samsung Electronics news, the Samsung Group unit will roll out a software update on March 28 to limit the battery charging capacity of its discontinued Galaxy Note 7 smartphones, ZDNet Korea reports. The company will also scrap its exchange program in the country on April 1, providing only refunds for the remaining phones.

* Google Inc. seems poised to launch its mobile payment service Android Pay in South Korea as it recently sent copies of a non-disclosure agreement to four credit card companies — Shinhan Card Co. Ltd., Hyundai Card Co. Ltd., Lotte Card Co. Ltd. and KEB HanaCard Co. Ltd. — ET News reports. The Alphabet Inc.-owned tech giant is reportedly planning to start the service in May.

* South Korean antitrust watchdog the Fair Trade Commission warned internet company Kakao Corp. that it violated the Electronic Transaction Act by failing to inform subscribers to its music streaming service Kakao Music of the conditions applied to a recent special offer in advertising materials, News 1 reports.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* A wholly owned subsidiary of Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co. Ltd. agreed to buy a 21% equity stake in SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. from certain funds affiliated with Blackstone Group LP at a price of US$23 per share. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

* Chinese bike-sharing company Ofo plans to expand to 20 countries by the end of 2017, The Paper reports. Ofo, which launched in Singapore last month as a test for its global expansion, will select many of the countries according to invitations sent by embassies, which so far include Germany and Spain.

* State-backed telecom infrastructure company China Tower plans to file an IPO in Hong Kong in 2017, Caixin reports. The Beijing-based company was co-founded in 2014 by China Telecom, China Mobile Ltd. and China Unicom.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. appointed Liu Shengyi as chairman of advertising, marketing and global branding, Caixin reports. The appointment came after Tencent's financial report, which showed continuing growth of online advertising income.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Finnish smartphone manufacturer Nokia Corp. will open a new headquarters in Thailand in the second quarter to prepare for the release of the Nokia 3310 feature phone, Manager reports. Arto Nummela, CEO of Nokia distributor HMD Global Oy, said that in one to three years Nokia will return to top brand status in Thailand, driven by sales of its new Android smartphones.

* Singtel and Telkomsel, which are Singaporean and Indonesia telco operators, respectively, formed a partnership to launch a mobile money transfer service between Singapore and Indonesia, The Business Times reports. The real-time mobile remittance service, which is offered by SingCash under the Singtel Dash brand, allows customers in Singapore to send money to any of 4,500 cash-out points across Indonesia.

* Thai telecom conglomerate True Corp. will invest 200 million baht in building 15 co-working spaces this year as part of its TrueSphere shared office project, Prachachat reports. True will also invest an additional 30 million baht in building a new flagship retail store, the True Branding Shop, at Bangkok's Siam Paragon mall.

* The Philippines' Globe Telecom will offer reduced prices on all-network calls, with prices dropping to one peso per minute, the company announced. The price drop is reportedly a result of lowered voice interconnect access charges across mobile operators.

* Video streaming platform meTube.id, which is managed by Indonesian media company PT Global Mediacom Tbk, will have a special channel in the company's cable TV service MNC Play, industry website Indotelko reports. The special channel will contain curated content from meTube.

* Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. named Thailand as one of its top five markets for Huawei P9 handset sales, with a total of 10 million units distributed to retailers during 2016, Manager reports. Huawei also revealed that its total handset sales in Thailand more than tripled in 2016.

* Singapore-based telco operator StarHub Ltd. made some changes in its senior leadership team, appointing Chong Yoke Sin, Mock Pak Lum, and Chong Siew Loong to lead the enterprise business group, the business development group and the network engineering division, respectively, The Straits Times reports. Its current chief commercial officer, Kevin Lim, is expected to retire by the end of 2017.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Vodafone NZ is acquiring a 70% stake in TeamTalk Ltd. unit BayCity Communications Ltd. for NZ$10 million. BayCity owns and operates TeamTalk's rural broadband and satellite enterprises. Part of the deal allows TeamTalk to sell the remainder of its 30% stake to Vodafone for NZ$3 million over the next three years.

* Australia has been chosen to be the test location for a new framework developed by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. — in partnership with Australian Post, Blackmores Ltd., and PricewaterhouseCoopers — to combat food fraud using blockchain technology, ZDNet Australia reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Uber Technologies Inc. is re-evaluating its car leasing strategy in India after customers prematurely returned leased vehicles shortly after incentives were cut, Reuters reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The U.S.-based ride-hailing company initially planned to purchase 15,000 new cars for lease to its drivers, but in December 2016 it suspended that strategy in India.

* Russia-based holding company GS Group sold its stake in joint venture Beximco Communications, which operates under the RealVU brand in Bangladesh, and is set to exit the venture, Rapid TV News reports. GS Group has successfully finished its RealVU project, which saw the creation of Bangladesh's first satellite pay TV operator in April 2016.

* Vodafone India has secured approval from the Indian government's Foreign Investment Promotion Board for its acquisition of YOU Broadband India, The Economic Times (India) reports. The Vodafone Group Plc unit bought YOU Broadband for about 4 billion rupees.

FEATURED NEWS

MarketWeek: Google parent dips amid advertisers' boycott; Snap rebounds: As Google apologized to a growing number of advertisers concerned their ads were appearing next to extremist content, shares of parent Alphabet dipped during the week that ended March 24.

Data Dispatch: Small cap new media companies undervalued, analysis finds: Small-cap new media companies represent some of the most undervalued stocks in the sector, according to an analysis of S&P Capital IQ consensus estimates.

Startup Spotlight: A new twist on the in-home theatrical release proposition: Startup XCINEX believes its product can solve many of the problems that have kept a digital streaming product out of the theatrical release window.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: YouTube MCNs see strong mobile viewing in Q4 2016: YouTube multi-channel networks such as BroadbandTV, Fullscreen and Maker Studios have amassed large audiences of young, engaged viewers who increasingly turn to their phones when it comes to viewing video content.

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.