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ByteDance's search engine; Jio/Microsoft alliance; Huawei's overhaul plans


* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd., creator of video app TikTok, has rolled out a search engine in China that brings out heavily scrubbed results, in compliance with the country's strict censorship rules, Bloomberg News reported. Toutiao Search, which bears similarities to Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC's home page, allows users to search for news, videos and information by typing in keywords.

* Reliance Industries Ltd. said it entered into a long-term partnership with Microsoft Corp. to help with the "digital transformation" in India. The companies will work together to help businesses in India adopt technologies, such as data analytics, artificial intelligence, cognitive services, blockchain, internet of things and edge computing. Under the agreement, Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. unit will set up data centers across India, with Microsoft to deploy its Azure platform in these data centers to support Jio's offerings.

* In response to U.S. sanctions that have disrupted its supply chain, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei is planning a significant organizational overhaul at the company, Bloomberg News reported. In an internal memo seen by the news outlet, Ren said a reorganization must happen within three to five years so that Huawei can continue to compete, even as U.S. sanctions threaten Huawei's access to American technology.

* Huawei's decision to deploy its new operating system HarmonyOS 1.0 across connected devices such as cars and smartwatches — rather than smartphones — is potentially a good strategy but one that relies on heavy investment, analysts said.


* SoftBank Group Corp. has held initial talks with Bharti Airtel Ltd. in a bid to buy a stake in the Indian telco, Business Standard reported. The Japanese conglomerate is looking to acquire either a direct or indirect holding in Bharti Airtel's telecom business and related assets. However, Bharti Airtel has denied any such "proposal for sale of stake in Bharti Airtel either directly or indirectly," according to The Economic Times (India).

* In other SoftBank news, the company is in talks to lead a US$150 million to US$200 million funding round for Indian social commerce platform Meesho Inc., Mint reported. The talks are reportedly in an early stage, according to sources. However, Meesho has denied any such discussions.


* South Korea has decided to exclude Japan from a whitelist of preferred trade partner countries, in retaliation for Tokyo's export restrictions on high-tech materials exports to Seoul, the government said Aug. 12, The Korea Times reported.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. said it will begin mass production of its mobile image sensor, ISOCELL Bright HMX, which provides 108 megapixels, going beyond the 100-megapixel threshold, ZDNet Korea reported. The image sensor will be used on Xiaomi Corp.'s smartphones.

* LG Electronics Inc. is working to automate operations for 60 of its partnering companies by the end of 2019, Korea JoongAng Daily reported. The company invested about 300 billion won in 2018 in an effort to boost the automation rate for its partners by 10 percentage points from 2017.

* 5G mobile communication is expected to be deployed for firefighting and human rescue missions for the first time in South Korea, ET News reported. The large scale super-speed data transmission technology, an aspect of 5G, will be used for the purpose.


* Baidu Inc. and Beijing Kuaishou Technology Ltd. have jointly invested US$434 million in Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed question-and-answer platform Zhihu, Caixin reported. Zhihu said it will use the funds to promote technology upgrades and product innovation as well as build its online business ecosystem.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will reportedly launch a ride-sharing platform to rival Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. and plans to initially test the service in Guangzhou, Forbes China reported. However, Alibaba has refuted the report, according to 36Kr.


* Google is inviting early-stage startups to apply for its third round of "Launchpad Accelerator India," Hindustan Times reported, citing IANS. The program guides early-stage startups on diverse aspects of their businesses such as technology, product strategy, marketing, among others.

* Tata Communications Ltd. has become the first Indian company to join the governing council of Hedera Hashgraph, a distributed ledger platform for enterprises, The Economic Times (India) reported. The council will comprise up to 39 multinational entities from various industries.

* Inc. has introduced its Marketplace Appstore in India, which allows sellers to discover trusted third-party applications that can help them automate, grow and manage their business, Hindustan Times reported, citing IANS.


* Thailand's Minister of Digital Economy and Society said the merger of TOT PCL and CAT Telecom PCL, which is expected to be considered for cabinet approval in November, must strive to protect the rights of current employees in the two companies, Thai Post reported. The minister also said the merger still demands clarity on the companies' debts and assets.

* The Indonesian Broadcasting Commission expressed its intention to monitor Netflix Inc. and YouTube LLC, CNN Indonesia reported. The commission, together with the Indonesian Minister of Communication and Information, is still in discussions on the Broadcasting Law regulation to monitor these digital platforms.

* PT Link Net Tbk, an Indonesian pay TV provider, partnered with PT Marga Mandalasakti, an Indonesian highway operator, to build telecommunications infrastructure along the highway, Bisnis reported. The strategic cooperation aims to expand Link Net's network to reach more customers base.


* NBN Co. Ltd. has rolled out the Sky Muster Plus plan for customers in rural and remote communities of Australia, Telecompaper reported. The new satellite product, which targets families and businesses in regional Australia, will offer unmetered data for broadband activities such as browsing, emails and specific software updates.


Data Dispatch: Alphabet, top tech firms expand buybacks amid regulatory pressures: A handful of technology companies account for a growing portion of all stock repurchases, in a trend that analysts say is driven in part by a need to deploy cash and please shareholders amid heightened regulatory scrutiny and market uncertainties.


Economics of Internet: Global Video, OTT Index: Links to Kagan's video provider operational tracking and programming spreadsheets, video-on-demand and over-the-top library data and analysis, and over-the-top company and country reports.

Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond 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.