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Alibaba allots $15B for tech R&D; Ola gets funding from Tencent, SoftBank

TMT News & Research: 2020 Recap

Blog

Charter, DIRECTV and Comcast rank as the top 'RSN-friendly' MVPDs

Quibi's $2 billion bet on mobile video fizzles out

Cable nets struggle with cash flow declines due to cord cutting, pandemic


Alibaba allots $15B for tech R&D; Ola gets funding from Tencent, SoftBank

TOP NEWS

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will invest more than $15 billion over three years to build global research hubs, as the Chinese e-commerce giant looks to further its growth with new technologies. The DAMO Academy — or the Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook — will open seven research and development labs in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Hangzhou; San Mateo, Calif.; Bellevue, Wash.; Moscow; Tel Aviv; and Singapore.

* Indian ride-hailing startup Ola raised US$1.1 billion in the latest funding round led by investors such as Tencent Holdings Ltd. and SoftBank Group Corp. Ola will use the funding round's proceeds to further expand its presence across India and invest in artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities for its platforms.

* Taiwan's Fair Trade Commission fined Qualcomm Inc. NT$23.4 billion for antitrust violations. Qualcomm was accused of using its patents in CDMA, WCDMA and LTE sectors to monopolize prices of smartphone baseband chips in the Taiwanese market.

JAPAN

* Toshiba Corp. announced a further ¥110 billion investment by its flash memory unit, Toshiba Memory Corp., or TMC, for the installation of manufacturing equipment at its Yokkaichi plant in western Japan. Toshiba agreed in September to sell TMC to a conglomerate led by U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital LP.

* Meanwhile, Toshiba's chances of retaining its Tokyo Stock Exchange listing received a boost as the TSE removed the conglomerate's "security on alert" designation, The Nikkei reports. The exchange imposed the warning two years ago amid an accounting scandal.

* NTT DOCOMO Inc., the mobile arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., plans to release low-cost voice control AI software for electronic devices as early as 2018, The Nikkei reports. The software would work through smart speakers and radically reduce business development costs for adapting AI voice control to digital services.

* Sony Pictures Virtual Reality reached a partnership with Reality One and VRX networks to create and distribute VR experiences for select Sony films, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The first project will be a VR experience based on Sony's "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle." Sony Pictures Virtual Reality is a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment under the Sony Corp. umbrella. Reality One is a subsidiary of Madison Wells Media.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is eyeing the acquisition of a Taiwanese LED company with a micro LED technology, JoongAng Ilbo reports. The goal of the potential deal is to reportedly launch a home version of its Cinema LED, which is currently used for movie theaters.

* SOLiD Inc.'s Pantech Inc. sold its Internet of Things arm to optical communication company WooriNet Co. Ltd., The Korea Economic Daily reports. The South Korean company said that proceeds from sale will be used to sustain Pantech business and to pay for wage claims.

* The appeal trial of Samsung Group heir Lee Jae-yong and four other Samsung executives is set to officially begin on Oct. 12, News 1 reports.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* China's State Intellectual Property Office announced rulings on the eight patent infringement lawsuits Samsung Electronics filed against Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. on Sept. 30, saying that only two are valid and one is partially valid, Newsis reports. This makes 10 out of 16 such patent cases having been denied validity in China since 2016.

* China Tower Corp. Ltd will likely have its initial public offering this year, the South China Morning Post reports, citing an analyst.

* Beijing Siwei Equity Investment Management Center, a shareholder of Le Vision Pictures, sued the Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. Beijing-controlled company over its refusal to provide accounting books, articles of association and operating information since June 2015, Yicai Global reports, citing Chinese website The Paper.

* Qualcomm is partnering with Thunder Software Technology to set up a laboratory in the Chinese city of Chongqing to develop Internet of Things-connected smart cars, the South China Morning Post reports.

* Alibaba affiliate Ant Financial will commercialize Zoloz, its own AI-based identity recognition platform, 36kr reports. Zoloz aims to provide technologies such as facial recognition and fingerprint recognition to clients, especially those in the finance sector, for user identity verification.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Vodafone India said it is teaming up with over-the-top streaming service YuppTV to add more than 250 live TV channels of South Asian content on its entertainment app Vodafone Play.

* India's Hathway Cable & Datacom Ltd. is also partnering with YuppTV to provide its high-speed fiber broadband customers with a subscription to YuppTV as part of their monthly plans, Television Post reports.

* Apple Inc.'s Apple Music announced it is setting up two Mac Labs in India, which will teach students how to create music using the iPhone maker's professional music creation app.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* True Internet, a subsidiary of Thailand's True Corp., will invest 400 million baht in increasing its network capacity to meet growing data demand, Prachachat reports. The company also said it aims to increase its revenue by 7% this year to 2.5 billion baht.

* Singapore Press Holdings will expedite its planned staff cuts in order to make its core media business leaner and to channel its resources for long-term growth, The Straits Times reports. SPH chief executive Ng Yat Chung said the headcount will be reduced by 230 by the end of 2017.

* Singtel and Ericsson AB will invest a total of S$2 million over the next three years to establish a center of excellence for 5G development and deployment in Singapore, Business Times reports. The center aims to help companies understand the value of 5G and to use it to shape their long-term planning.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission gave drone pilots 90 days to register their aircraft or face fines of up to 100,000 baht and up to five years' imprisonment under the Communications Radio Act, Krungthep Turakij reports. The move comes after earlier attempts to regulate unmanned aircraft led to only 350 drones being registered with the Civil Aviation Training Center.

* West Java's department of transportation of the Indonesian government issued a ban on the use of application-based transportation, such as Grab, Uber, and Go-Jek, until an updated regulation is issued, Kompas.com reports. According to the mayor of Bandung Ridwan Kamil, the technicalities of the decision and the monitoring will be decided in consultation with the police and central government.

* Malaysian broadcaster Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd. aims to attract 16 million new users by adopting three-pronged strategy, The Edge Markets reports. Astro COO Henry Tan stated that the company will focus on expanding from home to individual users, expanding beyond Malaysia, and going beyond selling content.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* ITV Plc's dating reality show "Love Island" is getting an Australian adaptation. Produced by ITV Studios Australia, "Love Island Australia" will air on Nine Network's 9Go! channel and on its on-demand streaming service 9Now in 2018.

* Nine Entertainment Co. said it will launch a new premium women's lifestyle website in 2018. Future Women will offer live events, workshops, speakers, video sessions, mentoring and access to research and insights.

FEATURED NEWS

Conference Chatter: Tech community fears Brexit brain drain: Britain produces more technology unicorns, or businesses valued at $1 billion or more, than any other country in Europe. However, concerns are growing over startups' ability to hire the talent required to maintain its leading position after Brexit.

Conference Chatter: Netflix, Amazon may have long way to go in Eastern Europe: Speakers at Digital TV Central and Eastern Europe in Budapest cautioned international streaming giants against taking a global approach to local markets.

Conference Chatter: Virtual reality to rise amid theatrical's fall, panelists say: As exhibitors scramble to show growth through investments in virtual reality, some insiders at Digital Hollywood in Los Angeles said that theatrical films are on the way out.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Multichannel Trends: XFINITY Instant TV boasts lofty gross margins despite aggressive pricing: Analyzing Comcast's new streaming bundles points to gross margins significantly outpacing virtual service provider competitors. There is also the potential for non-negligible accretive cash flows.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke 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.