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China explores China Unicom, China Telecom merger; Maoyan files for US$1B IPO

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China explores China Unicom, China Telecom merger; Maoyan files for US$1B IPO

TOP NEWS

* China's top leaders are reviewing a proposal to merge state-owned mobile carriers China United Network Communications Ltd. and China Telecom Corp. Ltd., Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The proposal reportedly contends that a China Unicom-China Telecom merger could accelerate government investments in 5G, especially since China is in a race with the U.S. in developing the wireless technology. The Chinese government has been considering combining the two mobile operators for years, but the country's escalating trade spat with the U.S. has made the matter more urgent.

* Maoyan.com, a Beijing-based online movie ticketing platform, submitted its application for an initial public offering on the Hong Kong stock exchange. The company submitted a prospectus under the name Entertainment Plus but did not disclose a timetable for the offering and its financial terms. According to reports, Maoyan is aiming to raise up to US$1 billion.

JAPAN

* KDDI Corp. announced an investment in U.S.-based Mad Street Den Inc., or MSD, through its KDDI Open Innovation Fund 2. MSD operates Vue.AI, an artificial intelligence and image recognition platform for apparel retailers. Financial details of the investment were not disclosed.

* SoftBank Group Corp. stepped up its efforts to find a new CEO for its India operations by hiring global executive headhunting firm Egon Zehnder to scout for suitable candidates for the role, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* NTT Docomo Inc., the mobile arm of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., is offering prepaid SIM cards for overseas visitors and media representatives attending the world press briefing of the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020.

SOUTH KOREA

* Google LLC will launch its AI speaker Google Home in South Korea on Sept. 11, Maeil Business Newspaper reports. According to Google Korea, its AI speaker supports the Korean language and will be available for purchase from Sept. 18.

* NAVER Corp. invested an undisclosed sum in U.S.-based information security solution provider Theori, E Daily reports. The company will cooperate with the startup to strengthen its user security.

* Kakao Corp. will apply its Kakao i Inside AI platform to Hyundai Motor Co.'s vehicles beginning 2019, Kyunghyang Biz reports. Kakao also said it plans to further expand its investment in AI and provide more open application programming interface.

* A leakage at Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd.'s chip plant in Giheung, South Korea caused the death of a worker and injured two employees, Yonhap News Agency reports. The leaked toxic gas is said to be from a fire extinguishing equipment in the basement of the plant.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* IQIYI Inc. filed a lawsuit against Beijing Byte Dance Technology Co. Ltd., operator of information aggregation app Jinri Toutiao, for unlicensed streaming of its TV drama "The Story of Yanxi Palace," South China Morning Post reports. The Baidu Inc.-owned video streaming service is seeking a compensation of 30 million yuan.

* Avary Holding (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd., a printed circuit board maker, is looking to raise US$527 million in a Shenzhen IPO, Nikkei Asian Review reports. While the date of the IPO was not disclosed, Avary will reportedly float 10% of its shares at an offer price of 16.07 yuan per share. Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. is the largest shareholder in Avary with a 37% stake.

* China Mobile Games and Entertainment Group Ltd. submitted an application to list in the Hong Kong bourse, Sina reports. The mobile games developer, according to its prospectus, owns 26 intellectual property by authorization and 68 intellectual property from own production. The company's revenue for the first half of 2018 rose 15.95% to 672 million yuan.

* IQIYI Sports completed its series A funding round, which was led by China Sports Capital and China Media Capital, Caixin reports. The sports streaming service did not disclose how much it raised in the round.

* Baidu Cloud users have tripled over the past year, while traffic has grown five times year-over-year, Securities Times reports. Baidu Cloud also launched the ABC3.0, an AI to business platform which focuses on agriculture, manufacturing and services industries.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Vodafone Idea raised 15 billion Indian rupees through issuing 15,000 unsecured redeemable nonconvertible debentures, the telco said in a filing to the Bombay Stock Exchange. The debentures have a five-year maturity tenure and were offered at an interest rate of 10.90% per annum. Vodafone Idea was formed out of a merger of Vodafone Group PLC arm Vodafone India with Idea Cellular Ltd.

* Netflix Inc. entered into a partnership with Hathway Broadband Pvt. Ltd. wherein the Indian cable TV and broadband provider will offer the streaming giant's platform through its set-top box, Mint reports. The set-top box will come with a remote that will have a dedicated Netflix button, allowing users to launch the streaming service directly.

* Zomato, an Indian food ordering and restaurant discovery platform, has acquired Bengaluru-based TongueStun Food, a startup that aggregates caterers and restaurants for office canteens. The cash and stock deal reportedly values TongueStun Food at about US$18 million, people involved in the transaction told The Economic Times (India).

* Taranjeet Singh tweeted that he has resigned as Twitter Inc.'s country director for India.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* The Malaysian Ministry of Communication and Multimedia is open to the suggestion of local or foreign companies competing with Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. to provide paid TV broadcasting services in the country, Bernama reports. Deputy Minister Eddin Syazlee Shith has stated that the ministry is ready to grant licenses to interested companies, provided that those companies comply with several conditions.

* Kuala Lumpur-based telco U Mobile announced that it obtained a three-year term loan facility worth 1 billion ringgit from UOB Malaysia to fund its capital expenditure. The amount will be spent on network expansion and enhancement strategy.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service PCL partnered with Bangkok's Follow Me Chinese Language Center to create a new edutainment app to learn the Chinese language. The free app, which is available via AIS Play and AIS Playbox, will be updated every week with new video content.

* PT Go-Jek Indonesia formed partnerships with local P2P lending firms Findaya, Dana Cita and Aktivaku, Reuters reports. The Indonesian ride-hailing company said the collaborations with the P2P lenders will be separate from its Go-Pay payment vertical.

* LINE Corp.'s Thailand unit launched new products designed to attract marketing professionals to the app, SiamPhone reports. The new products include LINE Customer Connect, a centralized hub for customer service, and LINE DATA Official Account, a streamlined service for customer data acquisition.

* Singapore-based GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. will make its food delivery service GrabFood available in Hanoi starting Sept. 5, Deal Street Asia reports. The company also aims to launch its electronic wallet GrabPay in Vietnam this month, but its license application is still being processed.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* CBS Corp.'s Network Ten confirmed a A$100 million deal to secure the broadcasting rights to the Melbourne Cup, News.com.au reports. The five-year deal runs from 2019 to 2023.

* FOXTEL will hike its prices on Oct. 1, with its basic entertainment package rising by A$3 to A$29 a month, while its platinum packages will increase by A$2 to A$139 a month, according to The Australian Financial Review.

FEATURED NEWS

The US Week Ahead: Top social media executives to testify on foreign influence: Social media executives will testify on foreign influence operations in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, while Judge Brett Kavanaugh's nomination to the United States Supreme Court will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Advertising: Top telecasts in July include '60 Minutes,' 'America's Got Talent': News was again the prevailing genre during July, led by "60 Minutes" and "ABC World News Tonight." "America's Got Talent" is still the top reality show of the summer. Ratings for the 2018 World Cup Final declined 28.3% compared to the 2014 matchup.

Ikrama Ranjha, 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.