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Poland may ban Huawei; Viacom in talks to sell majority stake in China unit

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Poland may ban Huawei; Viacom in talks to sell majority stake in China unit

TOP NEWS

* Poland could consider a ban on the use of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. products by public bodies, following the arrest of a Huawei employee suspected of spying for the Chinese government in the European country. According to Reuters, Poland's internal affairs minister, Joachim Brudzinski, called for the European Union and NATO to work on a joint position over whether to exclude Huawei from their markets.

* Huawei Technologies said it had fired Wang Weijing, its employee suspected of spying for the Chinese government and who had been arrested in Poland, Bloomberg News reported, citing an emailed statement from Huawei. The company said the employee had brought them dishonor, and that "his alleged actions have no relation to the company."

* Viacom Inc. is in talks to sell a majority stake in some of its China operations, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The move comes as the media conglomerate is having trouble trying to scale its operations in the country after more than two decades of business there.

* After three weeks of a partial shutdown of the U.S. government, impacts to the technology, media and telecommunications industries include a sudden halt to regulatory approvals needed for new connected devices to hit the market and uncertain timing for the many cases pending in federal court, including the resolution of the U.S. Department of Justice's appeal of the AT&T Inc.'s acquisition of Time Warner Inc.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group Corp. has raised about ¥2.35 trillion, or US$21.7 billion, in the initial public offering of its domestic telecom unit. The tech conglomerate, as expected, sold 1,603,693,700 SoftBank Corp. shares in the fully subscribed listing. SoftBank Group is retaining ownership of 3,182,919,470 shares, or a 66.49% stake, in SoftBank Corp. following the public listing.

* Japanese software developer Framgia Inc. acquired local IT education company Groove Gear Inc. for an undisclosed sum, The Nikkei reports. Under the deal, the two parties seek to provide IT personnel to the domestic software industry.

* Chinese deep learning startup SenseTime Group Ltd. has created an artificial intelligence autonomous driving park in the Japanese city of Joso, Ibaraki prefecture. The company will use the facility to test autonomous driving technology.

* Panasonic Corp. is setting up a hub in Shanghai in a bid to foster tie-ups with companies including Baidu Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., The Nikkei reports.

SOUTH KOREA

* Apple Inc. considered using Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and MediaTek Inc. to supply 5G modem chips for its 2019 iPhones, according to a report by Reuters. An Apple executive reportedly disclosed the talks between the companies while testifying at a trial between Qualcomm Inc. and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

* LG U+ is joining hands with Alphabet Inc.-owned Google LLC to jointly produce virtual reality and augmented reality content, Digital Times reports. The two companies plan to air their content exclusively on YouTube LLC and on the South Korean telco's VR-dedicated platform in the first half of 2019.

* Samsung Electronics is negotiating a deal to acquire Israeli camera startup Corephotonics Ltd. for around US$150 million, Yonhap News Agency reports, quoting Israeli media.

* The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT pledged to invest a total of 37.5 billion won in advanced convergence technologies in the fields of biotechnology, artificial intelligence and robotics, E Daily reports. As part of the investment, the ministry will kick off a project to develop human enhancement technologies, investing 1.9 billion won this year with a plan to pump a total of 25 billion won into the project until 2026.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* China pledged to open up its market to more foreign investors, Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Chinese minister of commerce Zhong Shan. China will welcome investment in the service sector as well as in the manufacturing and high-tech industries, and in the central and western regions.

* SenseTime Group is looking to raise about US$2 billion in a fresh funding round, Bloomberg News reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Discussions are reportedly at an early stage, and specifics of the deal could change.

* Xiaomi Corp. CEO Lei Jun said at its annual conference that the company will deploy a new five-year-strategy of smartphones, 36Kr reports. Lei said the company will invest more than 10 billion yuan in the period to develop "All in Internet of Things."

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. will give part of its stake in Airtel Tanzania Ltd. to the Tanzanian government, raising the East African country's shareholding in the mobile phone operator to 49% from 40%. According to Reuters, the Indian telco would retain a 51% stake in the company.

* In other Bharti Airtel news, the company has begun the process of paying Aircel Cellular Ltd., bringing relief to the bankrupt telco that needs money to maintain its assets and pay 3,000 employees. According to The Economic Times (India), while sources at Airtel say the entire due amount has been released, Aircel officials claim that only 3.41 billion Indian rupees of the 4.53 billion rupees owed has been received.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thailand-based mobile operator Total Access Communication PCL partnered with Google to provide free data for children-friendly content on the YouTube Kids application, The Nation reports. In addition to children-oriented content, YouTube Kids allows parents to monitor access times.

* Payments Network Malaysia Sdn Bhd is accelerating the implementation of inter-operable QR codes, which will allow participating e-wallet services to use a single QR standard for payments, The Edge Markets reports. The company, which has Malaysian central bank Bank Negara Malaysia as its largest shareholder, stated that the inter-operable QR codes are expected to be rolled out in June.

* The government of Indonesia is preparing regulations to fix the rates for four-wheel vehicles drivers and two-wheel vehicles riders of ride-hailing services, Okezone reports. Shinto Nugroho, the public policy director of one of the ride-hailing app company PT Go-Jek Indonesia, stated that the new rate set by the government must take into account the effect on the whole ride-hailing ecosystem.

* Thai digital TV channel True4U will allocate 800 million to 1 billion baht for content creation, Prachachat reports. The channel is under media conglomerate True Corp.

* Singtel, together with Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority and DBS Bank Ltd., have launched a new 99%SME e-commerce platform. The platform, which does not charge SMEs to list their products or services, will allow merchants in Singapore to adopt digital technologies and to provide their customers with omni-channel experiences.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian Broadcasting Corp. underpaid up to 2,500 casual staff over the last six years, moving the public broadcaster to commence a detailed review into how it calculated the pay, The Australian reports. ABC Chief People Officer Rebekah Donaldson said the company is ­actively working to remedy the issue for affected employees.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: CES 2019: As connectivity technology proliferates, security takes center stage: At one of the world's biggest technology trade shows, cybersecurity — and how unprepared most consumers and even regulators are to address it — emerged as a key theme at various panel discussions interspersed with flashy new product announcements.

Data Dispatch: 'Aquaman' leaves little 'upside' for January box office competition: "A Dog's Way Home" and "The Upside" will challenge holiday holdover "Aquaman," which is expected to continue to outswim its competition at the box office as overall January ticket sales trend lower compared to a year ago.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Technology: Worldwide fiber-to-the-home, DSL equipment spending swings upward in Q3'18: During third quarter 2018, fiber-to-the-home and DSL equipment spending reached $2.27 billion, up 8% over revenue in the second quarter of 2018 but down 7% from third quarter 2017.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway 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.