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Naspers, Tencent invest in Swiggy; car platforms backed by SoftBank

TOP NEWS

* Naspers Ltd. led a US$1 billion funding round for Indian food delivery platform Swiggy by investing US$660 million in the startup's series H round. The round includes participation from existing investors including DST Global, Meituan Dianping and Coatue Management LLC, along with new investors Tencent Holdings Ltd., Hillhouse Capital and Wellington Management. The news confirms an earlier report that said Naspers is looking to hike its stake in Swiggy.

* Cambridge Mobile Telematics Inc., a telematics and analytics provider, secured a US$500 million investment from SoftBank Vision Fund, the investment arm of Japan's SoftBank Group Corp. The company plans to use the funding to accelerate its DriveWell platform, a telematics and behavioral analytics solution which measures driving performance and vehicle dynamics.

* U.S.-based car leasing company Fair announced that it raised US$385 million in a series B funding round led by SoftBank Group. The company plans to use the funds to expand its partnership with Uber Technologies Inc.

* Heading into 2019, the EU is considering a number of legislative proposals impacting the technology, media and telecommunication industries, including laws introducing new taxes on big tech companies and content quotas on streaming media giants.

JAPAN

* World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. extended its broadcasting agreement with Japan's J Sports. Under the new agreement, J Sports 4 will air "Raw" and "SmackDown" live in Japan beginning Jan. 1, 2019, while J Sports 3 will air one-hour versions of "Raw" and "SmackDown," beginning Jan. 7, 2019.

* Dentsu Inc. named Koki Sato as its new executive officer, effective Jan. 1, 2019. Sato, currently a representative director of Septeni Holdings Co. Ltd., will concurrently hold the executive officer post at Dentsu.

* Tokyo-based software company Aptpod Inc. raised about ¥800 million through a private placement with funds including the SUBARU-SBI Innovation Fund and Hon Hai venture capital fund 2020.

SOUTH KOREA

* Netflix Inc. is producing a new South Korean original series out of Jung Se-rang's fantasy drama novel "School Nurse Ahn Eun-young," which tells the story of a nurse discovering mysteries in school, Financial News reports.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is set to locally launch its Galaxy A9 smartphone, equipped with four cameras on the back, on Dec. 21, The Korea Economic Daily reports. The quad camera includes a main lens, a 10-megapixel telephoto lens, a 120-degree ultra-wide lens and a depth lens, and supports Live Focus feature that allows users to blur the photo background.

* NAVER Corp. Chief Technology Officer Song Chang-hyun is leaving the company at the end of January 2019, and the position is likely to remain empty for a while, Dailian reports.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. plans to provide factories with an all-in-one smart factory package, which includes 5G network connection, specialized solution, data analytics platform and devices, to support manufacturing innovation, ZDNet Korea reports. The telco is also leading South Korea's 5G smart factory alliance, joined by 19 companies and institutions including Samsung and Microsoft Korea Inc.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Chinese streaming site Bilibili Inc. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Taobao Marketplace struck an agreement to collaborate on content-driven e-commerce and commercialization of Bilibili's intellectual property assets. Under the tie-up, both companies will develop an ecosystem to better connect content creators, merchandise and users on both platforms.

* Tencent launched an automated payment system under its WeChat Pay operation for car parks across China. According to South China Morning Post, the system has been implemented in more than 1,000 parking lots nationwide.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd.-owned short video app Douyin is now testing hosting videos as long as two minutes, 36Kr reports. According to a source, the platform is looking for new strategies to increase viewers' attachment to content.

* Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. Ltd. received the green light to build a new 3-nanometer chip manufacturing plant at the Southern Taiwan Science Park in Tainan, according to Taiwan News. Production is planned to start in late 2022 or early 2023.

* Chinese AI technology and service provider Fourth Paradigm closed its series C funding round with 1 billion yuan, valuing the company at US$1.2 billion, TechNode reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. will offload up to 32% of its shareholding in Bharti Infratel Ltd., reducing Airtel's stake in the telecom tower infrastructure provider to around 18.33%. The divestment will see the Indian telco transferring up to 591.87 million equity shares in Infratel to Airtel's wholly owned subsidiary Nettle Infrastructure Investments Ltd. Separately, Bharti Airtel's board announced that it formed a committee that will explore various fundraising options and named Badal Bagri as the company's new CFO.

* Reliance Communications Ltd. is requesting India's telecom department to clear its spectrum trading deal with Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reports. This comes shortly after the Department of Telecommunications rejected the transaction for not adhering to guidelines stipulating that the duty to settle unpaid dues of the seller is on the buyer.

* The Indian government will keep an eye on global concerns around national security threats from Chinese telecom equipment providers such as Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp., but added that it has "no issues around participation of Chinese telecom firms in 5G trials," Press Trust of India reports, citing an official from India's telecom department.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Masii.com, a Bangkok-based comparison site for financial products, has acquired local online event ticketing platform One Place for an undisclosed sum, DealStreetAsia reports.

* British Broadcasting Corp. channel BBC First is set to roll out in Thailand via a program block on MCOT PCL's 24-hour entertainment channel Channel 9, Digital TV Europe reports. The block arrives on the Thai public broadcaster in February 2019, delivering drama series such as "McMafia," "Press" and "Luther."

* Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal International Networks Ltd. struck deals to make its DIVA, E! and DreamWorks channels available on the online video services Cookie TV in Myanmar and Hooq Digital Pte. Ltd. in Indonesia, Rapid TV News reports.

* Singtel is partnering with Germany-based digital financial technology firm Wirecard AG to allow users of Singtel's mobile payment app Dash to make payments using Apple Pay.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service PCL reported successful 5G trial runs, according to Matichon. The mobile phone operator said it has achieved the maximum speed of 19 Gbps on its network.

* Thai telco True Corp. revealed that its True Digital Park is equipped with smart technologies from global partners, including Cisco Systems Inc., Seiko Epson Corp. and Microsoft Corp., Manager Online reports. The complex will be ready for tech startups in February 2019.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* KKR & Co. downgraded its buyout offer for Australia-based accounting software company MYOB Group Ltd. by slashing its takeover bid to A$3.40 per share from A$3.77 per share. MYOB said that its board is "not in a position to recommend the revised proposal" but remains in talks with the U.S.-based private equity firm.

FEATURED NEWS

Facebook, tech firms deny privacy violation related to data-sharing partnership: Responding to reports that Facebook allowed its tech partners more access to user data than previously known, Microsoft tells S&P Global Market Intelligence that it respected all user preferences throughout its engagement with Facebook.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of TV & Film: Breaking down broadcast network content spend: We break out estimated original and acquisition spend for the U.S. broadcast networks.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway 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.