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SoftBank plans new Vision Fund; Microchip gets China approval for Microsemi deal

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said he plans to launch a second Vision Fund "sometime in the near future," Bloomberg News reports. Launched in October 2016, the SoftBank Vision Fund is reportedly the world's biggest technology fund. Meanwhile, Reuters reports that SoftBank intends to open an office in Saudi Arabia to deepen its links with the country, whose Public Investment Fund is one of the main Vision Fund contributors.

* Microchip Technology Inc. said it secured antitrust clearances from China's Ministry of Commerce, the Japan Fair Trade Commission, the Philippine Competition Commission, the Austrian Federal Competition Authority and the German Federal Cartel Office to acquire its rival Microsemi Corp. The go-ahead from China, which marks the first approval of a major technology deal by the country since the Broadcom Ltd.-Brocade deal in August 2017, is reportedly an indication that trade tensions between the U.S. and China were easing, according to Reuters.

* U.S. President Donald Trump's plans to ease sanctions on ZTE Corp. was met with criticisms by U.S. lawmakers, who reportedly vowed not to abandon legislation clamping down on the Chinese telecom gear-maker, Reuters reports.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* ESPN Inc.'s Southeast Asian head Joyee Biswas will join Facebook Inc. as its head of Asia-Pacific sports partnerships. In his new role, Biswas will manage Facebook's collaborations with Asia-Pacific teams, leagues, athletes and sports media across Facebook-owned platforms. He will continue to be based in Singapore.

* Asian satellite service provider Thaicom Public Co. Ltd. inked a deal with European content delivery service Mediavision for the expansion of its MCPC broadcast platform in Africa.

JAPAN

* Mercari Inc. won approval for a planned IPO on the Tokyo Stock Exchange worth up to ¥117.6 billion. The flea market app operator is set to list on the TSE's Mothers market starting June 19. The indicative price range is ¥2,200 to ¥2,700 per share, with final pricing to be determined June 11. Mercari plans to sell 43,554,800 shares in the public offering, which could raise as much as ¥117.6 billion. Upon listing, the company will have a total of 135,331,322 shares outstanding, giving it a market cap of up to ¥365.39 billion.

* Toshiba Corp. announced a record net profit of ¥804 billion for the fiscal year ended in March, compared to a loss of ¥965.6 billion in the previous year. Toshiba's first net profit in four years is a sign of rebound from the brink of collapse just a year ago from the failure of its U.S. nuclear unit.

* NTT Security Corp., the cybersecurity arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., said it will launch operations in India and the Philippines to provide security services to corporations and the government.

SOUTH KOREA

* Inyup Kang, head of Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s logic chip developer System LSI and a former Qualcomm Inc. executive, said the company is in talks with several smartphone makers, including ZTE, to supply them with mobile processor chips, Reuters reports. The news comes after the U.S. Commerce Department imposed a seven-year ban that bars American companies from selling components to ZTE for violating international sanctions.

* The government of South Korea plans to invest 2.2 trillion won in developing artificial intelligence technology by 2022, Yonhap News Agency reports. With the investment, the Ministry of Science and ICT will roll out various initiatives to bolster AI research and development, including executing AI-related mega projects in public sectors and opening six new graduate schools focused on the field.

* NCSOFT Corp. will separate its multiplayer online role-playing mobile game "Lineage M" from its PC version to make it a stand-alone intellectual property, The Kyunghyang Shinmun reports. The company will also add mobile-specific content to the game and upgrade its graphics to full HD in preparation for a new version that will be launched globally soon.

* YouTube LLC was the most-used app in South Korea for April 2018, with users in different age groups spending 25.8 billion minutes on the Alphabet Inc.-owned video streaming platform, a 226.6% jump from March 2016, when users spent 7.9 billion minutes on the app, The Korea Herald reports.

* NAVER Corp. adjusted its news service to hide comments from the first landing page of political news articles amid growing concerns over comment-rigging, News 1 reports. Users now have to click on the comment section to view the content.

* In other Naver news, the South Korean internet search portal released a local General Data Protection Regulation user manual to help South Korean companies understand the new European Union regulations, ZDNet Korea reports.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* 360 Security Technology Inc. will issue no more than 1.4 billion shares via private placement to raise 10.8 billion yuan that will be used to fund projects in areas such as internet security, artificial intelligence and big data.

* iQIYI Inc. did not respond to reports saying that it has acquired Nuomi, the online to offline entertainment platform of parent company Baidu Inc., for US$200 million, but said that it will strengthen its ticketing business, The Paper reports.

* Zhongnan Red Culture Group Co. Ltd. acquired an 18.4% stake in Shanghai-based Baian Film for 46.04 million yuan to strengthen its capabilities in importing and distributing foreign movies.

* Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., a Taiwanese contract electronics maker and a supplier to Apple Inc., saw its profits dive in the first quarter. The company, generally known as Foxconn, posted a net profit of NT$24.18 billion in the three months ending March, marking a 14.5% fall from NT$28.17 billion a year ago and a 66.4% drop since the last quarter. Meanwhile, consolidated revenue for the company rose year over year to NT$1.03 trillion in the first quarter of 2018 from NT$97.50 billion but fell by as much as 40% in quarterly terms.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Ericsson AB's insolvency petitions against Reliance Communications Ltd. and its subsidiaries Reliance Infratel Ltd. and Reliance Telecom Ltd. were admitted by the Indian bankruptcy court National Company Law Tribunal. According to The Economic Times, the decision is a severe blow to the telco's proposed sale of its wireless assets to Reliance Jio, a transaction that would aid the company's plans to cut debt by 85%.

* The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is considering scrapping interconnect usage charges for text messages, or the fees paid by a telco to the network receiving the SMS, people aware of the matter told The Economic Times. The proposed move is similar to the regulator's September 2017 ruling to significantly cut interconnection fees for voice calls, a decision that met with sharp responses from Bharti Airtel Ltd., Vodafone India and Idea Cellular Ltd.

* VMware Inc. appointed former eBay Inc. executive Ramkumar Narayanan as vice president and managing site director of its India operations. In this role, Narayanan will be heading the company's research and development center in India.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Facebook will ramp up its investments in Thailand to support small and medium-sized enterprises, Manager reports. The social media giant will also open a new office in the country to ensure compliance with local tax arrangements. Facebook Thailand now has over 2.5 million SMEs doing business on the platform, the report said.

* Telkomsel will build 12,000 LTE base transceiver stations across Indonesia in preparation for the upcoming Eid al-Fitr, Tribun reports. The company predicts that there will be a 40% increase in data usage during that period.

* Thai TV stations Amarin TV, Channel 5 and True4U will broadcast the opening FIFA World Cup game between Russia and Saudi Arabia on June 14, Thairath reports. The move is part of a shared license deal funded by nine private companies to ensure that Thai audiences can watch all 64 World Cup matches for free.

* Singapore's MediaCorp Pte. Ltd. introduced the blended cost-per-viewer model, a new cross-screen buying solution that enables advertisers to optimize their budgets across TV and digital platforms.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. announced a multimillion-dollar deal with Dutch bank Rabobank that will see over 90 Rabobank branches and two data centers across Australia and New Zealand upgraded to Telstra's Software Defined-Wide Area Networks solution.

* Microsoft Corp., together with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and KPMG Australia, teamed up to launch Wiise, a joint venture that will provide small and medium-sized enterprises with end-to-end cloud-based business management solution. Wiise will start delivering services from July.

FEATURED NEWS

Data Dispatch: May retail market: Retail sales up, bankruptcies continue at a steady pace: Retail sales rose 0.3% in April, while three retailers declared bankruptcy.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Chilean incumbents move to 5G while 'Word Of Mouth' reaches more consumers: While Chilean mobile network operators look to expand their networks and explore 5G, bureaucracy will continue to hamper industry performance if not addressed through policies that promote healthy competition among large and smaller players.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, 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.