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India set to OK Amazon grocery service; Hutchison fixed-line biz draws bids

TOP NEWS

* A consortium of private equity firms, including TPG Capital Management and MBK Partners, is planning to bid for Hutchison Global Communications, the fixed-line phone unit of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd., sources with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters. According to the report, Hong Kong-based telecom operator HKBN Ltd. is also planning a separate bid. The value of the fixed-line phone unit could go as high as US$1.9 billion. In May, CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. board chairman Li Ka-shing was said to be exploring the sale of the fixed-line business.

* India is set to approve Amazon.com Inc.'s proposed US$500 million investment to launch an online grocery service in the country, a Trade Ministry official told The Wall Street Journal. Earlier this year, the e-commerce giant lodged an application to the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion to stock locally produced food to sell online.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s revenue in fiscal 2018 could grow as much as 49%, CFO Maggie Wu said at the company's investor conference. Wu added that the forecast is attributed to Alibaba's core Chinese e-commerce business, consumer spending, user growth, as well as contributions from new revenue streams.

* Asian telecom operators will need to invest more in content and infrastructure in order to boost the uptake of quad-play services across the region, industry observers have said. Operators in developed markets such as the U.S. and Western Europe increasingly bundle their services.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Australia signed an agreement with Thailand that will see the two countries working together to fight cybercrime in Asia. According to ZDNet, Australia will also provide support in cybercrime digital forensic development to the Thai Royal Police, national security and foreign affairs officials.

JAPAN

* Universal Studios Inc.'s Universal Studios Japan theme park in Osaka, Japan, will invest more than ¥60 billion to open a new area Super Nintendo World in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. The plan was revealed at a groundbreaking ceremony June 8. The new area will feature Nintendo characters and worlds with rides, shops and restaurants, including a Mario Kart race game.

* Amazon Japan G.K. rolled out Amazon Prime monthly membership plan for ¥400 per month. Subscribers can have access to streaming video, music and free shipping. With the move, the online retailer seeks to expand its customer base, with an aim to direct Prime members to opt for the annual plan for ¥3,900.

* Sony Corp. said that it would postpone the sale of its battery business to Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd. as the review process for the required regulatory approvals is taking longer than expected. The two companies aim to complete the transfer by September or as soon as possible thereafter.

* Japanese internet service firm CyberAgent, Inc., alongside its consolidated subsidiary Cygames Inc., will set up CA-Cygames Anime Fund by the end of June 2017. It will inject funds to the anime production committee to obtain the rights to stream anime videos on the internet and produce games and specialize in investment in anime IP. The total amount of funds is expected to be ?3 billion.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. has given up on installing an in-display fingerprint sensor in its next signature smartphone Galaxy Note 8, News 1 reports. A source from the Samsung Group unit said that the installation will not be possible due to technical limitations despite expansive efforts and that the company will continue to develop the capability with CrucialTec Co. Ltd., which has the technology.

* The South Korean administration's governance planning advisory committee is pushing forward with a policy to set up more free public Wi-Fi services on top of basic subscription fee elimination to reduce households' burden of telecom prices, Seoul Broadcasting System reports. According to the committee's plan, Wi-Fi services will be expanded to public transportation and residential apartments.

* Chinese electronics company Xiaomi Inc. opened a South Korean webpage on its official website using the name MI Korea, Yonhap News Agency reports. The page is now used to introduce the company's main products and specifications in South Korean, and the move reportedly is said to prepare for an official entry into the market.

* Samsung said that its Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus smartphones became the first smartphones to receive the ECOLOGO Gold Certification in the latest American National Standards Institute UL 110 sustainability standard. The evaluation criteria include the content of post-consumer recycled and bio-based plastics content in accessories, energy efficiency of external power supply unit and eco-friendly packaging.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Weibo Corp.'s controlling shareholder SINA Corp. disclosed the details of its planned distribution of shares of the Chinese social media company to SINA stockholders. SINA expects to distribute 7,142,148 class A ordinary shares of Weibo to SINA shareholders on a pro rata basis, with one Weibo class A ordinary share distributed for every 10 SINA ordinary shares. Fractional shares will not be distributed. The distribution date is expected to be July 10.

* Hangzhou-based data technology startup DT Dream raised 750 million Chinese yuan in the series A round, Sohu reports. Major investors include Alibaba and China Eyebright Group.

* Baidu Inc. signed Desay SV Automotive, a Huizhou, Guangdong province-based in-vehicle technology provider, for mass production of self-driving cars. The partnership will focus on developing a self-driving platform and maps.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* StarHub Ltd. has priced the offering of S$200 million 3.95% subordinated perpetual securities and will issue these securities on or around June 16 in denominations of S$250,000, the Singaporean telco said in a press release. The company has appointed DBS Bank to be the sole global coordinator, lead manager and book runner for this issuance.

* More than 100 journalists in Myanmar formed the Protection Committee for Myanmar Journalists against Section 66(d) of the Telecommunications Law, Telesur reports. Under the law, reporters could be jailed for up to three years for spreading defamatory news over the telecom network.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission met with digital terrestrial TV operators, the Television and Broadcast Vocation Association Federation, the Thai Entertainment Content Trade Association and the Motion Picture Association of America to discuss future over-the-top content regulations in Thailand, Krungthep Turakij reports. The NBTC believes that regulations will bring about fair competition among traditional and over-the-top content providers.

* PT Tridharma Kencana, an Indonesian electronics component manufacturer, inaugurated its new factory dedicated to assembling Motorola smartphone in Indonesia, IndoTelko reports. The new factory will have the capacity to produce up to 400,000 devices per month.

* Intel Corp.'s Malaysia-based semiconductor factory will host the verification of a factory optimization solution developed by Fujitsu Ltd., a Japanese IT company, The Nation reports. The solution is targeted to yield 10 billion Japanese yen of revenue for Fujitsu in the next three years.

* Digi Telecommunications Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian telco, introduced a B2B tracking solution called iFleet, New Straits Times reports. The solution will target companies with vehicle tracking needs such as fast-moving consumer goods companies and transport service providers.

* LINE MAN, a mobile application by LINE Corp., expects to grow its Thai customer base to 1 million users by next year, Manager reports. LINE MAN's primary business is picking up and delivering food, packages, items from convenient stores and mail.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Representatives from the TPG Group, which include TPG global chief investment officer Jonathan Coslet, have met with the Fairfax Media Ltd. management to start its due diligence program, The Australian Financial Review reports. TPG, which offered to pay A$2.7 billion for Fairfax, is competing with Hellman & Friedman for the Australian media company.

* NBN Co. Ltd. revamped its executive committee. Some of the changes include John Simon, chief customer officer for business, leading the newly created business sales and marketing department. The residential sales and marketing department will be run by Brad Whitcomb. Meanwhile, chief network deployment officer Katherine Dyer was promoted to the executive committee and will lead the newly formed network deployment and planning team. The personnel changes are effective July 1.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Flipkart India Pvt. Ltd. is in the early planning stages for its venture into financial technology, Chief Technology Officer Ravi Garikipati told Mint. The Indian e-commerce giant is also looking to hire executives from Silicon Valley as part of its push into artificial intelligence and machine learning.

* Pakistan's Ministry of Information Technology and Telecom moved a policy directive for the consideration of the federal cabinet to allow mobile operators to test upcoming technologies such as 5G, Propakistani reports.

* Direct-to-home operator Dish TV India Ltd. partnered with Walt Disney Co.'s Indian unit to launch Disney Active, a service offering read-along e-books and games for children, according to Television Post.

FEATURED NEWS

Comey details pressure from Trump on Russia investigation: The former FBI chief explained why he went public with his account of meetings with the president and refused to say whether Trump's actions constituted obstruction of justice.

Data Dispatch: Regulators, industry hanging up on robocalls: In recent months, regulators have stepped up their war on robocalls. And data from the Federal Communications Commission's Consumer Help Center makes it easy to understand why.

The Daily Dose: Verizon/Yahoo deal to cost 1,000 jobs; Sirius, Pandora disagree on price: Verizon Communications Inc.'s acquisition of Yahoo! Inc. assets could result in up to 1,000 job cuts at Yahoo and AOL, while Sirius XM Holdings Inc. is considering an investment in Pandora Media Inc. after talks to acquire the streaming radio company failed.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: State of Chinese online video: Subscription: Improvement in piracy regulation, advancements in mobile payments and generational shifts in viewing habits have all contributed to explosive growth in China's subscription online video market.

Economics of TV & Film: Kagan Box Office Report – Week 23: The summer box office finally had a win in week 23 thanks to the big debut of "Wonder Woman." Weekly box office was up for the first time this summer, growing 21.0% to $264.2 million from $218.4 million in 2016.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Wil Hathaway and Kevin Osmond 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.