* Kakao Corp. will issue global depositary receipts worth US$1 billion to foreign investors to list itself on the Singapore Exchange in February 2018. The South Korean internet company plans to use the money raised to invest in mobile content and platform businesses as well as artificial intelligence.
* Dish TV India Ltd. received final government approval for the closing of its merger with Videocon d2h. In a regulatory filing, Dish TV said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting approved the request for the completion of merger between the two companies.
* Oracle Corp. agreed to buy ASX-listed cloud-based solution provider Aconex Ltd. in a A$1.6 billion deal. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018.
* U.S.-based data center giant Equinix Inc. will reportedly pay around A$1.04 billion to acquire Australian data center operator Metronode Pty. Ltd. in an all-cash transaction. The deal is expected to make Equinix the third largest owner of data storage services in Australia, The Australian Financial Review reported.
* Toshiba Corp.'s US$18 billion deal to off-load its flash memory business to a Bain Capital-led buying consortium could miss the March deadline after Chinese antitrust regulators began an investigation two months after the consortium had applied for approval, The Nikkei reports.
* Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. aims to make 25% of its sales outside Japan by pursuing acquisitions and inviting overseas automakers to take part in its connected-car consortium including Toyota Motor Corp., The Nikkei reports, citing NTT President and CEO Hiroo Unoura.
* Japanese conglomerate Sony Corp.'s Sony Music Entertainment Inc. and the Michael Jackson estate renewed their deal that covers Jackson's recorded music as well as the option for Sony to partner on new projects with the estate, effective Jan. 1, 2018, The Nikkei reports. This is a continuation of a 42-year-agreement since 1975. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will unveil its new flagship Galaxy S9 smartphone in February 2018 and release the devices in March 2018, according to Bloomberg News. A source said the new phones will be similar to the current Galaxy models, but with upgraded camera systems.
* KT Corp. created a 5G-dedicated business division to drive its 5G commercialization efforts and a blockchain technology center to define relevant business models as part of its organizational change, The Dong-a Ilbo reports. The company also expanded the reach of its artificial intelligence tech center to strengthen its artificial intelligence business.
* Naver Webtoon, a webcomic service of Naver Corp., launched the interactive web comics "Encountered" by artist Ha Il-kwon, The Korea Economic Daily reports. The eight-part series allows readers to become a lead character in the webcomics by using facial recognition and machine learning technologies developed by the company's research and development arm Naver Labs.
CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
* Baidu Inc. partnered with China Life Insurance to set up a 14 billion Chinese yuan fund to invest in companies in mobile Internet, artificial intelligence, fintech or other advanced technology sectors, Caixin reports. The fund will be managed by Baidu Capital, and will be focusing on projects in its middle and late stages.
* Guangdong South New Media Inc. is planning an IPO of not more than 32.1 million shares in the ChiNext board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, according to a filing to the Securities Regulatory Commission.
* Shenzhen-listed marketing agency Shunya International called off its proposed 2.9 billion yuan acquisition of 48.2% of Beijing Milaiwu Network Technology Co. Ltd., the owner of Chinese live streaming platform Inke. Feng Yousheng, CEO of Inke, told Tencent News that both the cash flow and sustainability of the company are at a healthy state, and it will be announcing a new endeavor shortly.
* Chinese AI chip maker ThinkForce secured 450 million Chinese yuan during its series A funding round, China Money Network reports. Investors include Sequoia Capital China, Hillhouse Capital, Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng Capital and Yitu Technology.
* The municipal government of Shanxi province in North China rolled out a new scheme to encourage the development of film production industry in the region. The government will sponsor 1 million Chinese yuan for each of the outstanding movies by local producers, and movies with box offices collection reaching 5 million yuan will receive an up to 2 million yuan.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* India hiked the import tax on electronic products such as mobile phones and TV sets to boost its Make In India program, The Economic Times (India) reports. The rise in tax to 15% from 10% on handsets will make imports of phones — including most of Apple Inc.'s iPhone models — more expensive.
* Former DEN Networks Ltd. Group CFO Manish Dawar has been appointed Vodafone India CFO, effective January 2018. Dawar, who is replacing Thomas Reisten, will reportedly also be the CFO of the combined Vodafone India-Idea Cellular entity, once the merger is complete, The Economic Times of India reports.
* India's telecom department is mulling the allocation of E and V band spectrum, which are required to connect mobile towers, through an auction instead of a fixed fee, according to Press Trust of India.
* Eros International Plc's over-the-top platform Eros Now partnered with Foxxum, a provider of Smart TV solutions, to offer its library of premium content on the Foxxum TV App Store worldwide.
* Indian offline over-the-top entertainment platform VuLiv Player launched VuShare, a mobile technology for simulcasting a user's videos, music and photos on multiple screens without additional hardware or internet, Television Post reports.
* Singapore-based telco StarHub Ltd. reached an agreement to acquire cryptography company D'Crypt Pte. Ltd. for a maximum consideration of up to S$122 million. The acquisition will be done in two stages – StarHub will acquire 65% of D'Crypt upon completion of phase one, expected in early 2018, and 35% in phase two during the first half of 2021.
* Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd., together with China's eSports live streaming platform Huomao, launched the live streaming platform Tamago, who focuses on localized user-generated content in the Southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam.
* The central bank of Indonesia will further review the acquisition of three fintech companies by Indonesian motorcycle ride-hailing app Gojek, CNN Indonesia reports. Gojek reportedly acquired three local fintech companies, namely Kartuku, Midtrans and Mapan.
* Thailand-based CAT Telecom announced its 2018 business plan, which includes the continuation of the 2 billion Thai baht international underwater cable project, Kom Chat Luek reports.
* Iflix will premier its first Indonesian original series, "Magic Hour: The Series," on Dec. 18.
* True Corp. appointed Kittinut Tikawan and Wichao Rakpongpairot as co-presidents of commerce and operations, respectively, effective Dec. 26, Nation TV reports. The Thai telco giant also appointed Atirut Totaweesansuk as deputy chairman of its board of directors and of its e-business board.
* Malaysia-based telco Maxis Bhd. and Samsung formed a partnership to provide enterprise mobility services to local companies, The Edge Markets reports.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission filed a federal lawsuit against Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd. for allegedly misleading its customers on when they needed to make the switch to the National Broadband Network.
* Seven West Media Ltd. struck a new partnership with Optus, which will see the telco's mobile subscribers receiving four months of video-on-demand streaming "data free." It comes ahead of Seven's coverage of the Australian Open Tennis, the Olympic Winter Games and the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, which will run from January to April 2018 on the network's sports apps.
MarketWeek: Media, communications stocks zigzag after Fox/Disney merger, net neutrality vote: Disney's proposed combination with Fox and a federal regulatory rollback gave media investors plenty to digest for the trading week ended Dec. 15.
Economics of Networks: Cable Program Investor: Table of contents for Issue No. 241, published December 2017.
Economics of TV & Film: Premium networks increasingly lean on originals: The original-programming frenzy has meant not only more players in the market, but also more series ordered by some networks.
Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Wil Hathaway and Ed Eduard 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.