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ByteDance settlement; Malaysia's digital services tax; iDreamSky's US$1.4B bid


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ByteDance settlement; Malaysia's digital services tax; iDreamSky's US$1.4B bid


* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd., the parent company of video app TikTok, reached a US$1.1 million settlement with a group of parents who alleged that the company collected and used children's personal information, The Verge reports, citing a statement from the company. The plaintiffs alleged that TikTok did not properly provide safeguards to prevent children from using the app.

* Alphabet Inc.'s Google LLC will start charging customers in Malaysia a 6% tax on digital services from January 2020 as the country implements a new tax law designed to level the playing field for domestic players. According to Nikkei Asian Review, Malaysia's digital services tax also affects media streaming companies such as Netflix Inc. and Spotify Technology SA.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed video game publisher iDreamSky Technology Holdings Ltd. is in discussions to buy Hong Kong-based peer Leyou Technologies Holdings Ltd. for roughly US$1.4 billion, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Co-investors are being sought by iDreamSky to help fund the potential transaction, which could include private equity firms and other gaming companies.


* Japan Display Inc. will likely get another loan deadline extension from its three main creditors as the embattled company finalizes a rescue plan from new investors. According to The Japan Times, Mizuho Bank Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd. plan to extend the expiry of their loans, totaling ¥107 billion, to March 31, 2020, from Dec. 30. State-backed fund INCJ Ltd.will provide a guarantee for the loans, sources said.

* SoftBank Corp. and the University of Tokyo will jointly launch an artificial intelligence research center called Beyond AI Institute, with an aim to bring together top researchers around the world. The mobile carrier plans to spend ¥20 billion over the next 10 years to advance studies on AI in healthcare and autonomous cars, according to Jiji Press.

* SoftBank Vision Fund 2 held discussions to invest about US$150 million in U.S. home healthcare company Honor, reports, citing people familiar with the matter.


* LG Electronics Inc. is trying to secure its share of the Japanese smartphone market through its G8X ThinQ dual-screen handset, Digital Daily reports. The company hopes the differentiated user experience provided by dual screens will raise the LG smartphone brand's position in the Japanese market.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is tapping the business-to-business market ahead of the official launch of its voice-controlled AI speaker Galaxy Home Mini, ET News reports. The company is working with construction companies to provide newly built model houses, furniture stores and exhibitions with Galaxy Home Mini speakers in a bid to secure large-scale deployment.


* TikTok leader Alex Zhu will meet with lawmakers in Washington this week to address concerns that the platform's Chinese ties pose privacy, security and censorship risks, The Washington Post reports. Zhu sought a meeting with Sens. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Marco Rubio, R-Fla., each of whom have questioned the app's independence from Beijing.

* Facebook Inc. sued Hong Kong-based ILikeAd Media International for allegedly baiting people into clicking celebrity photos and bogus links so it could install malware and run ads for counterfeit goods. According to Reuters, the complaint filed in San Francisco's federal court seeks unspecified damages and a Facebook ban.

* Istanbul-based mobile operator Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS struck a memorandum of understanding with China Development Bank for an eight-year term loan worth €500 million. The new loan will be used to finance the procurement of hardware and equipment from Chinese vendors.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. struck a deal with Manchester United to bring exclusive content from the professional football club to its platforms. The agreement includes select first-team matches, highlights and localized original productions and a dedicated Manchester United channel on Alibaba's video-streaming platform Youku Tudou Inc.

* Inc. consolidated its artificial intelligence, cloud computing and internet of things businesses into a single unit called JD Cloud and AI, 36Kr reports. The new unit will be led by Bowen Zhou, vice president of JD Group and head of JD artificial intelligence research and platform.

* SenseTime group Ltd. expects its 2019 revenue to increase by more than 200% year-on-year to around US$750 million despite being placed on a trade blacklist by Washington in October, Reuters reports, citing two sources familiar with the matter. This suggests a strong demand for the Chinese AI startup's technology, which has Xiaomi Corp., OPPO, China Mobile Ltd. and Alibaba as its users.

* Baidu Inc. formed a smart transport team in its self-driving arm Apollo, Sina reports. The team will focus on building infrastructure and offering smart transportation technologies in Chinese cities.


* Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said the company is on track to spend US$420.5 million to produce and license content in India this year and in 2020, reports. An industry source said that no streaming service in India is spending anything close to that figure on just content.

* Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Mangalam Birla warned that its telecom unit Vodafone Idea Ltd. will have to "shut shop" if the Indian government does not provide it with relief following a Supreme Court ruling requiring it to pay statutory dues worth 400 billion rupees within three months, Mint reports. Birla's comments come after its joint venture partner, Vodafone Group PLC, said it would halt investments in Vodafone Idea as it awaits a relief package from the government.


* Advanced Info Service PCL, True Move H Co. Ltd. and Total Access Communication PCL may opt out of Thailand's 5G spectrum auction in February 2020 as the three operators are unhappy with the bidding condition draft rules laid out by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission. The operators have complained that the reserve prices are too high, Prachachat reports.

* True Move H Universal Communication Co. Ltd. is preparing to offer debentures to the public, according to a filing with Thailand's Securities and Exchange Commission. The offers will be open from Dec. 16 to Dec. 18.

* Telekom Malaysia struck a partnership with OYO Rooms Hospitality to provide broadband services across OYO properties, New Straits Times reports. The Malaysian wireless carrier will provide its full suite of unifi services including high-speed broadband access, unifi TV and unifi Mobile.

* Indonesia-based internet service provider PT Link Net Tbk is collaborating with local crowd sourcing platform to provide internet access to underprivileged schools in the country, Investor Daily reports. The initiative is part of Link Net's corporate social responsibility program that will commence in February 2020.

* Total Access Communication partnered with Google to launch the Dtac Android Enterprise Zero Touch solution, which allows enterprises to quickly set up Android devices, Sanook reports.


* Seven West Media Ltd. and Prime Media Group Ltd. are sweetening the terms of their A$64 million merger ahead of a Dec. 19 stockholders' vote on the deal. According to The Australian Financial Review, a cash dividend coming from Prime may be offered as a further incentive for the deal and partial use of the regional broadcaster's balance of more than A$65 million worth of franking credits would further add to the transaction's value for shareholders.

* WPP AUNZ Ltd. sold its stake in the Kantar Australian and New Zealand businesses to WPP PLC. This comes as U.S.-based private equity firm Bain Capital LP completed its purchase of a 60% stake in The Kantar Group Ltd. from WPP.

* ViacomCBS Inc.'s Network Ten Pty. Ltd. co-ordered drama thriller "Breathless" with Channel 5 (UK), Deadline reports. Produced by FremantleMedia Group Ltd., the four-part series will follow a British woman and her husband seeking a fresh start in Australia. Filming in Melbourne will begin in 2020.


MarketWeek: Wall Street cautious on ViacomCBS deal; Roku plunges on downgrade: Shares in the newly minted ViacomCBS tumbled during the week ended Dec. 6 as analysts considered the benefits of the recombination, while Roku shares fell after an analyst expressed concerns that the company is overvalued.


Wireless Investor: Belgium regulators not buying the 5G hype: While carriers in many developed markets have been focused on their 5G rollouts, Belgium has halted 5G due to the country's radiation standards.

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

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