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NIFCO to sell The Japan Times; India's RCom looking to sell undersea cable biz

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NIFCO to sell The Japan Times; India's RCom looking to sell undersea cable biz

TOP NEWS

* The Japan Times' owner NIFCO Inc. said it is selling the English-language newspaper to Tokyo-based public relations company News2u Holdings Inc. at the end of June. Nifco, an autoparts maker, said it will offload its entire stake for an undisclosed sum to focus on its core auto business.

* Indian telecom operator Reliance Communications Ltd. is looking to sell its undersea cable unit Global Cloud Xchange and has approached Hong Kong-based Citic Telecom International Holdings, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The Indian telecom operator is looking to pay off a part of its heavy debt. Citic Telecom is currently undecided on whether to proceed with an offer.

* Foxconn founder and CEO Terry Gou told Reuters that Dell Inc. is joining Apple Inc. in the Foxconn-led consortium that is bidding for Toshiba Corp.'s memory chip business. Kingston Technology Corp. would also be part of the group, while Amazon.com Inc. is close to joining the group. Other companies that Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., is reportedly in talks with to participate in the bid are Alphabet Inc.'s Google Inc., Microsoft and Cisco Systems. The report also added that a source familiar with the matter said that Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. is also part of the consortium.

* Uber Technologies Inc. is set to announce Nestle executive Wan Ling Martello, who is also on the board of Alibaba Group and Wal-Mart-owned Japanese retail chain Seiyu, as a new independent board member, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The addition is the company's third prominent female hire after a sexual harassment probe into the company resulted in a series of executive shakeups and mass firings.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is launching Tmall World, a service that would allow 100 million overseas Chinese to access products sold in its Mobile Taobao app and all the other Alibaba marketplaces, in "priority markets" that include Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia.

* Fox Networks Group's Asian unit, in a deal with HS Entertainment, bagged exclusive broadcast and distribution rights to Chinese drama "Nothing Gold Can Stay" to locations outside of mainland China, World Screen reports. The drama will air in November.

* Microsoft Corp. will launch worldwide its new Xbox console Xbox One X on Nov. 7. The new console features true native 4K graphics, Dolby Atmos surround-sound support and HDR support for gaming and video. The Xbox One X will retail for A$649.1 in Australia.

JAPAN

* Dentsu Inc.'s global arm announced it has acquired Novus Group Holdings Pte Ltd., a Singaporean content services company, for merging with John Brown Media. Dentsu Aegis Network said the new company will be rebranded John Brown Novus and bolster Dentu's content marketing Asia Pacific services. John Brown joined the Dentsu Aegis Network in 2015.

* History Channel Japan Corp., a joint-venture between A+E Networks and Japan's Super Network,Inc., named James Flanagan as its new general manager, according to Rapid TV News. New York-based A+E increased its stake in HCJC from 50% to 80% last year, and Flanagan's appointment reflects its new growth strategy in the Japanese market. Flanagan was previously president of Blackhawk Network Holdings Inc.'s Japan and Korea unit.

* NTT Communications Corp., the internet solutions arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., announced a management shakeup. Kyoko Yamamoto, a vice president for accounts, replaces Tomohide Matsuyama as senior vice president, head of human resources. Matsuyama was appointed to lead NTT Advertising, Inc.

SOUTH KOREA

* Kakao Corp. is facing a lawsuit over alleged patent infringement related to mobile messenger services in the U.S. District Court, News 1 reports. Kakao expects the lawsuit by U.S.-based patent management firm Group Chatter will be settled soon with the compensation as high as 400 million South Korean won. The company's stock price dropped 4.19% compared to the previous day after the news was released June 12.

* In other Kakao news, the South Korean internet company recently invested in AI-related software and hardware startups including Skelter Labs and Luxrobo, Maeil Business Newspaper reports. The company is seeking ways to nurture local AI startups with the help of Venture Square and the National IT Promotion Agency.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. started 4.5G network service with five-band carrier aggregation, The Korea Economic Daily reports. The telco's new network service is four times faster than the current 4G LTE network, and allows users to download a high definition 2-gigabyte movie within 23 seconds. The company plans to provide its new network service to 57 major cities and districts of the country first and expand to an additional 85 cities and districts. The company will also use its artificial intelligence technology to optimize its network traffic.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will launch its budget smartphone Galaxy J5 as early as the end of this month, Money Today reports. The new budget model will be Samsung's only smartphone priced under 300,000 Korean won to be equipped with the company's mobile payment service Samsung Pay. The new smartphone has 13 megapixels front and rear cameras and features fingerprint scanners on its home button.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Police in the Cangnan County in China's eastern province of Zhejiang arrested 22 people for stealing and selling Apple's customer data for about $7.3 million, The New York Times reports, citing an official statement. The police reportedly said 20 of the people worked for companies that sold Apple devices or are contractors for the iPhone maker.

* In more Apple news, the tech giant is gearing up to launch its first retail store in Taiwan, according to a tweet by Apple CEO Tim Cook. The opening date for the store was not disclosed.

* Canyon Bridge Capital Partners LLC, a China-backed acquisition fund, will be re-submitting its November 2016 deal to buy Lattice Semiconductor Corp. for US$1.3 billion for U.S. review, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Vodafone Türkiye inked a memorandum of understanding for the TechCity 2.0 project, which will extend the two companies' existing partnership on developing and testing technologies for fiber optics and 5G.

* China's MediaTek Inc. has clarified that it does not plan on listing a Taiwanese internet of things subsidiary on the Chinese stock market, ending a slew of media speculation about the company's restructuring plans, Taipei Times reports.

* All3Media International licensed over 400 hours of factual programming into China through partnerships with Shanghai Media Group's Wings Media and VOD platform Bilibili.com, World Screen reports.

* China Mobile Communications Corp. is adding U.S.-based Ride Television Network Inc., or RIDE TV, to its mobile video platform, through a partnership with streaming app Tiki LIVE. The subscription video-on-demand service will be accessible to China Mobile's 120 million mobile video subscribers in China.

* QingCloud, a Beijing-based cloud service provider for enterprises, raised 1.08 billion Chinese yuan in its series D round. With major investors including China Merchants Securities International and Riverhead Capital Investment Management, QingCloud plans to spend the investment mainly on R&D and partnership development.

* Han Xu, former chief scientist at Baidu Inc.'s self-driving division, joined Jingchi Corp, the California-based self-driving tech startup founded by Wang Jin, former general manager at Baidu's self-driving unit, Sohu reports. Jingchi, however, is facing lawsuits in the U.S. as it was sued by Didi's rival Ucar for intellectual property infringement.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. became a strategic partner with Shanghai Medical Health Cloud Business, a cloud division of the state-owned Shanghai Pharmaceuticals, Xinhua reports. The two companies will develop an online platform for prescriptions and solutions for online medicare payment.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thailand police arrested three Chinese nationals carrying 474 iPhones and almost 350,000 SIM cards, which the gang had been using to manipulate product listings on WeChat, Thai Rath reports. In response, the NBTC urged telcos to introduce more fingerprint ID scanners at retail stores and report any suspicious behavior among SIM card distributors.

* Online ride-hailing app company Grab Indonesia is planning to have helicopter services which target executive customers living in Jakarta and its surrounding cities, The Jakarta Post reports. Grab Indonesia Marketing Director Mediko Azwar stated that the business may also expand to mining areas where such services are needed.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission suspended DTV, Rainbow TV and Best Channel for 30 days after the three stations failed to pay their annual TV license fees, Prachachat reports. Four other stations – NTV, News 1, Mongkol Channel and H Plus Channel – have been given 15 days to pay their respective fees before also facing a 30-day suspension.

* In other NBTC news, the Thai regulator authorized Advanced Info Service to temporarily disable its AIS Playbox service for system upgrade purposes, Prachachat reports. AIS Playbox will briefly switch off on June 18-24 and June 25-30, and AIS must submit a consumer impact report to the NBTC within seven days of upgrade completion.

* Thai telco Dtac is confident that it can use its 2300 MHz partnership with TOT to provide voice and data services using 4G VoLTE technology, Manager reports. Last week the NBTC said that TOT is not authorized to provide voice services on the 2300 MHz spectrum, but Dtac believes that 4G VoLTE technology offers a potential loophole.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Network Ten is facing the prospect of being placed into ­voluntary administration if a A$250 million loan cannot be refinanced after three of the company's major shareholders — Lachlan Murdoch, Bruce Gordon and James Packer — decided against guaranteeing the new loan, The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The Australian broadcaster is expected to issue a statement today to update the market over its ­finances.

* Meanwhile, Network Ten will likely renegotiate its content deals, reportedly worth more than A$150 million annually, with 21st Century Fox Inc. and CBS Corp. to cut back on costs, The Australian Financial Review reports. Ten's newly appointed adviser Moelis & Co. is reportedly in talks with a number of parties to secure alternative financing.

* Netflix Inc. picked up rights to heist thriller "Good Time," starring Robert Pattinson, in multiple territories, including Australia, from French sales group Memento Films International, The Hollywood Reporter reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Tata Consultancy Services Ltd. is partnering with Intel Corp. in building a "future-ready reference architecture" that would allow business enterprises to adopt modern technologies such as IoT, cloud, 5G and artificial intelligence, IANS reports.

* France-based Publicis Groupe is planning to double its size and scale in India in the following years, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing Chairman Arthur Sadoun.

* Paytm Mall has appointed Amit Sinha as its COO, the Deccan Herald reports. He is currently vice president, business and human resources at Paytm's holding company One97 Communications.

* Google Inc.'s Daydream View VR has been made available in India through Flipkart on June 12 for 6,499 Indian rupees, IANS reports.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: Microsoft's new console makes big splash at E3: Microsoft Corp. fired on all cylinders at the Xbox E3 2017 briefing, unveiling the long-anticipated details of its latest console and announcing a slew of new games.

The Daily Dose: Senators throw flag on Sinclair/Tribune deal; 'Wonder Woman' shreds 'Mummy': The reach of a combined Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc./Tribune Media Co. broadcasting group and concerns about partisan news coverage have some arguing the deal would not serve the public interest. "The Mummy," meanwhile, took a beating from "Wonder Woman" at the box office.

The Daily Dose Europe: Media firms form pan-Euro JV; United Internet, Drillisch deal approved: ProSiebenSat.1, Mediaset and TF1 Group teamed up to form a pan-European joint venture for digital video advertising, while Germany's Federal Cartel Office approved the proposed merger deal involving United Internet and Drillisch.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Wireless Investor: Singapore shuts down 2G, welcomes 4th MNO: As Singapore welcomes its fourth mobile network operator, the three incumbent MNOs are taking a defensive stance to retain market share and sustain revenue growth amid increased competition.

Economics of Internet: New SNL Kagan Report: Future of 4K and Internet TV: The U.S. 4K Ultra HD TV space should ramp up rapidly, with HDR and advanced smart TV features attracting high-end and midrange buyers while discount 1080p models target the lower end of the market. For detailed analysis, see our exclusive new report.

Joji Sakurai, Nicole Shiwon Kim, Frances Wang, 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.