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Australia eyes heavier fines for privacy breaches; Alibaba buys InfinityAR


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Australia eyes heavier fines for privacy breaches; Alibaba buys InfinityAR


* The Australian government is proposing heftier fines against tech giants such as Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. unit Google LLC over privacy breaches, Bloomberg News reported, citing a statement. Under planned amendments to the country's Privacy Act, fines for serious or repeated data breaches will be increased to A$10 million from A$2.1 million. A company could also be charged three times the value of any benefit gained or 10% of its yearly domestic turnover, whichever is greater.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. acquired Israeli mixed reality startup Infinity Augmented Reality Inc., which offers a mixed reality platform that augments content with physical surroundings, for an undisclosed amount.

* Apple Inc. on March 25 unveiled a video streaming service that includes its first foray into original programming, along with a news subscription app, a video game subscription offering and a new credit card.


* Rakuten Inc. announced that Rakuten Wallet, its cryptocurrency subsidiary, successfully registered as a cryptocurrency exchange operator with the financial affairs bureau for the Kanto region.

* SoftBank Corp. rolled out its smartphone-based LiVR virtual reality platform. The Japanese telecom operator plans to transmit real-time VR broadcasts of baseball games and other live content through the service.

* Sony Corp. entered an agreement with CMIC Healthcare Co. Ltd. to transfer its electronic medication notebook service to CMIC Healthcare by June 1.

* Nintendo Co. Ltd. is set to launch two new versions of its Switch console in order to maintain enthusiasm for the product, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified sources.


* Rep. Rhee Cheol-hee of South Korea's Democratic Party is alleging that KT Corp. Chairman Hwang Chang-gyu signed contracts with 14 politicians to help the company win government projects, Korea JoongAng Daily reported.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. unveiled its 2019 QLED TV in South Korea March 25, Digital Daily reported. The new 2019 QLED TV carries 18 models with boosted picture quality by using "Quantum Processor AI," which turns non-ultra-high definition content into an ultra-high definition content by using artificial intelligence.


* Naspers Ltd. is set to form a new global consumer internet group that will control its internet assets outside South Africa and the entity will be listed on the Euronext Amsterdam. Some of the internet businesses that will form part of the new company include Tencent Holdings Ltd., Group Ltd. and OLX Inc.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. made an undisclosed investment in Shanghe Internet Technology (Shanghai), a game publisher. According to KrASIA, the deal gives ByteDance a 45.19% stake in the company.

* Beike Zhaofang, an online real estate brokerage, secured US$800 million in its latest funding round led by Tencent, Caixin Global reported.

* In other Tencent news, the company is said to be in final stages of discussion regarding an investment in Chao Ji Dao Gou, a Shanghai-based startup providing systems for management training in the retail industry, Linkshop reported.

* Alibaba and Tencent jointly invested 517 million yuan in Baiwang, a Beijing-based startup providing e-invoice service, according to 36kr. However, Baiwang denied Tencent's participation, saying it recently completed its latest funding round led by Alibaba, Sina reported.

* Tencent Games is partnering with Scratch, a programming playground developed by MIT Media Laboratory to help kids learn how to code, KrASIA reported. The tie-up will see Tencent integrating its platforms with Scratch, including Tencent Cloud, WeChat and QQ for community sharing features, as well Tencent Games to enhance Scratch's creative offering.

* Love Bank, a Chinese social platform, removed itself from app stores to comply with the requirements of China's content regulators. According to TechNode, the removal is reportedly the result of "non-compliant" content found in the app. The news comes after sports commentary app Hupu also disappeared from app stores.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s popular "PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds" game has been banned in multiple cities in India for being violent, with the country's national child rights commission recommending barring it altogether, Bloomberg News reported.

* Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. penned an agreement with Xiaomi Corp. that will allow Redmi Go device users to get a cashback worth 2200 Indian rupees and 100 GB additional data, The Economic Times (India) reported.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. slashed international call charges to Bangladesh by 75% and to Nepal by 40%, BusinessLine reported.

* Snap Inc.'s Snapchat partnered with Indian Premier League franchises Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders for the season, Television Post reported. Under the partnership, fans will be able to get behind-the-scenes updates of their favorite team on Snapchat.


* Telekom Malaysia is considering parting with its assets in a bid to use the proceeds for other investments, New Straits Times reported. The company said in February it plans to sell some of its properties for 273.4 million ringgit and 312 million ringgit.

* Singtel appointed Dominic Barton to the board as an independent director, effective immediately.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission told public broadcaster MCOT PCL it has 90 days to respond to a request to recall bandwidth on the 2600 MHz spectrum, Krungthep Turakij reported. MCOT currently holds 154 MHz of bandwidth on the spectrum, which is now earmarked for a forthcoming 5G auction.


* Nine Entertainment Co. laid off an undisclosed number of staff across its technology and sales teams after its merger with Fairfax Media Ltd. The company also announced the appointment of Tim Rose to the newly created role of director of sales at Nine+, a new team focused on providing marketing solutions to small and medium-sized businesses in Australia.

* Tribe, an Australian startup that offers an online marketplace to link brands with social media influencers, raised A$10.5 million in external funding. According to The Australian Financial Review, the funds will be used to establish its presence in the U.S., as Tribe CEO Anthony Svirskis temporarily relocates to New York to manage the expansion.


Memory market slowdown to hurt Micron, Samsung into next year: Weak memory revenue forecasts from companies like Micron Technology Inc. and Samsung are an indication that the memory market has yet to bottom out, and analysts said price declines, slow demand and global trade issues could upset a quick recovery expected by vendors and drag the struggle into next year.


The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended March 22.

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.