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Sony concept car; Xiaomi, Sea in digital banking bid; SoftBank investment


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Banking Essentials Newsletter: 17th April Edition

Sony concept car; Xiaomi, Sea in digital banking bid; SoftBank investment


* Sony Corp. unveiled its first electric concept car, called the Vision-S, at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The prototype contains a range of Sony technology including 33 sensors that are able to monitor the inside and outside of the vehicle. It also includes Sony's 360 Reality Audio system and a panoramic screen for driving information and entertainment content.

* Singapore's central bank received 21 applications for digital bank licenses as of the close of application on Dec. 31, 2019. Applicants include a partnership between Singtel and Grab Holdings Inc., TikTok owner Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. and a group led by Razer Inc. In a Jan. 7 news release, Xiaomi Corp. said its financial arm teamed up with AMTD Group Co. Ltd., SP Group Treasury Pte. Ltd. and Funding Societies Pte. Ltd. to apply for a digital wholesale banking license. NYSE-listed internet company Sea Ltd. also joined the fray by applying for a digital full bank license.

* SoftBank Group Corp. is eyeing an investment of up to US$100 billion to develop Indonesia's new capital city in East Kalimantan, according to Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan, the Indonesian coordinating minister for maritime affairs and investment. According to Tempo, the minister is meeting SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son on Jan. 10 to continue discussions on the capital investment.


* Sony will roll out the PlayStation 5 gaming console during the holiday season this year, reports. The latest console will include 3-D audio, haptic/adaptive triggers, ultra-high-speed SSD, hardware-based ray tracing and Blu-ray.

* Panasonic Corp. unveiled several offerings, including an OLED TV, gaming speakers and wireless headphones at a press briefing ahead of CES in Las Vegas, The Japan Times reports.


* LG U+ and CJ ENM CO. Ltd. finally reached an agreement on content usage fees after more than a year of carriage dispute and blackout, ZDNet Korea reports. The companies agreed to make a concession on content usage increase rate, the most contentious item.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. kicked off CES with an array of innovations, from robots to augmented reality glasses. The company took the wraps off Ballie, a robot that can help users exercise and manage their smart devices.

* SK hynix Inc. unveiled new semiconductor offerings at CES, ET News reports. The company's product lineup this year includes memory chip solutions related to artificial intelligence, augmented reality, virtual reality, automotive, internet of things, big data and 5G.


* A Tencent Holdings Ltd.-led consortium is seeking a €1 billion five-year loan to help fund its US$3.4 billion stake purchase in Universal Music Group Inc., Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Bank of America Corp., Bank of China Ltd., HSBC Holdings PLC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Asia) Ltd. and Morgan Stanley are expected to provide the nonrecourse financing as a club deal.

* In more Tencent news, the company led a US$73 million investment in Shu Mei, a Beijing-based startup that develops artificial intelligence technologies for risk control, 36Kr reports. Shu Mei will use the funding's proceeds for research and development, expansion and recruitment.

* Baidu Inc. paid nearly 600 million yuan to acquire a 5.71% stake in Yusys Technologies Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based financial technology company.

* In other Baidu news, the internet company hired former Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. executive Chu Yu to oversee government affairs and public relations, according to Sina, which cited local media reports. Yu, who previously was vice president for Alibaba, has also worked at Inc. and Lenovo Group Ltd.


* Eros Now, a South Asian entertainment platform owned by Eros International PLC, said its service is now live on Wasu Media Holding Co. Ltd., allowing the company to deliver Bollywood content to Chinese viewers. Wasu Media is a cable TV, over-the-top and internet protocol TV service provider in China.

* OnePlus Technology (Shenzhen) Co. Ltd. will commence production of TV sets in India in the first quarter of 2020, The Economic Times (India) reports. The Chinese smartphone-maker is also in discussions with its global suppliers for India investments since all high-value components for TV are currently imported.


* Singaporean telco StarHub Ltd. partnered with local university Nanyang Polytechnic to launch a 5G application and experience center. The facility will be used for training talent, industry co-development and testing new use cases.

* Indonesian Minister of Communication and Informatics Johnny Plate urged PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk to solve its problems with Netflix Inc., Kompas reports. Plate clarified that Telkom's ban on Netflix was not ordered by the ministry and was based on the telecom operator's decision.

* Krungthep Thanakom, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration, wants to charge telecom operators 8,000 baht per kilometer monthly for the use of its underground cabling infrastructure, Krungthep Turakij reports.

* Total Access Communication PCL requested the paperwork needed to participate in Thailand's February 5G spectrum auction, following True Move H Universal Communication Co. Ltd.'s decision to collect the same documents, Thairath reports.

* Advanced Info Service PCL secured broadcast rights to the Winter Youth Olympic Games Lausanne 2020, Prachachat reports. The telco will air the games on its online platforms AIS Play and AIS Playbox.


* News Corp. Australia Pty. Ltd. will donate a day's worth of its metropolitan paper sales and advertising revenue to bushfire relief efforts, with an aim to raise A$1 million, according to The Australian.


Conference Chatter: CES 2020: Sony surprises with connected car prototype: During its CES 2020 press conference, Sony unveiled a car prototype and said it will continue to invest in autonomous vehicle technology. It also revealed the latest sales figures for the PlayStation 4 gaming console.


Consumer Insights: Emmy nominated Netflix Originals viewership: While nearly all Netflix users have viewed at least one of the select Emmy nominated original shows surveyed, the individual titles have a narrow viewership.

Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.

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