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Tencent invests US$604M in Vipshop; NZ court dismisses NZME-Fairfax appeal

TOP NEWS

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. and JD.com Inc. will invest a total of about US$863 million in Chinese online discount retailer Vipshop Holdings Ltd. through a share subscription, with the trio also forming a strategic alliance to expand their e-commerce presence. Tencent will invest US$604 million for a 7% stake in the retailer.

* The High Court of New Zealand dismissed the appeal of NZME Ltd. and Fairfax Media Ltd. concerning the New Zealand Commerce Commission's decision to decline the two companies' proposed merger.

* Baidu Inc.'s streaming service iQiyi acquired rights to stream six Golden-Globe 2018-nominated films in China, Rapid TV News reports.

* As expected, Videocon d2h will voluntarily delist its American depositary shares from the Nasdaq Global Market, as well as deregister with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as part of its merger deal with Dish TV India Ltd., which recently received the final approval from the Indian government Dec. 15.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group Corp. is looking to invest as much as US$300 million in U.S.-based dog walking apps developer Wag Labs Inc., Recode reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Wag had already raised US$40 million only eight months ago followed by an offer from a top venture capital firm before SoftBank came in, according to the report.

* China's Ministry of Commerce has raised concern over SK Hynix Inc.'s role in the sale of Toshiba Corp.'s memory chip unit, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The world's largest semiconductor market may ask the Japanese conglomerate to ensure that the deal with the South Korean semiconductor giant does not hurt competition, according to the report.

* NTT DOCOMO and Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. completed a joint field trial for 5G mobile communications over a long distance through a 39 GHz mmWave band in Yokohama, Japan. The trial achieved maximum speeds of over 2 Gbps on a vehicle at a distance of 1.8 km, driving at speeds of 20 kmph.

SOUTH KOREA

* Appeal hearings of Samsung Group heir Lee Jae-yong's corruption case are set to be completed by the end of December, and a ruling is likely to be made as early as January 2018, Chosun Biz reports.

* South Korean internet company Naver Corp. and telco LG Uplus Corp. are joining hands to strengthen their position in the artificial intelligence-powered smart home market, Yonhap News Agency reports. Naver's AI platform Clova is being incorporated into the Internet of Things and IPTV services of LG Uplus to jointly create voice-controlled home IoT service called "Uplus Our Home AI."

* K Cube Ventures, a venture capital owned by South Korean internet company Kakao Corp., formed a 76 billion South Korean won fund with Korea IT Fund and Woori Bank to invest in fintech and industry 4.0 startups from initial incubation stage, ZDNet Korea reports. With the fund, the venture capital hit 200 billion South Korean won in its assets under management.

* South Korean multiple-system operator CJ Hello Co. Ltd. is set to enter the virtual reality market, starting with the establishment of experience facilities in hotels and shopping malls in 2018, ET News reports. The CJ Group subsidiary also plans to make an investment in its network capacity to manage a potential traffic increase coming from heavy VR content.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Chinese regulators, at a conference in Geneva, said that Alphabet Inc.'s Google Inc. and Facebook Inc. have to accept China's strict online laws if they want to work and operate in China, Reuters reports.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. signed an agreement with the municipal government of Jiangsu to invest 18 billion Chinese yuan to build a data center for its cloud services in the Nantong Economic and Technological Development Zone, Xinhua News reports. Covering 300,000 square meters of land, the center will house 300,000 servers and serve as Alibaba's largest cloud computing base in Eastern China.

* Alibaba Group also invested in Chinese electric car startup XPENG Motors as the Chinese e-commerce giant continues its foray into the automotive industry.

* Number of mobile phone users rose to 1.41 billion in China in November, of which 70% are using 4G networks, C114 reports, quoting data from The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China. Nearly 120 million accounts are connected to 100 Mbps or faster rate for the internet, with 66.9% of total internet users with a connection of 50 Mbps or above. IPTV users reached 118 million, while mobile internet users rose 16.6% year on year to 1.25 billion.

CENTRAL ASIA

* World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and Mongolia-based sports broadcaster SPS HD partnered to broadcast WWE's flagship programs "Raw" and "SmackDown" on SPS Sports for the first time in Mongolia. WWE also recently partnered with South Korean sports broadcasting media company to broadcast WWE programming live in South Korea for the first time.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Sri Adhikari Brothers Television Network Ltd. and its associates entered into an understanding with Pantel Technologies Pvt. Ltd., which recently acquired Reliance Communications Ltd.'s DTH business, to jointly create a boutique of more than 20 channels covering different genres, The Hindu BusinessLine reports. The two companies are expected to launch free-to-air channels, as well as an OTT platform. The channels will be rolled out by March 2018.

* Reliance Jio launched a web version of its JioTV livestreaming service, its second service to have a web version after Jio Cinema, NDTV reports.

* Telecom operator Dialog Axiata Plc's US$300 million investment in Sri Lanka which has been held back due to a licensing issue could be resolved soon after intervention from Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, The Star Online reports. Dialog Axiata is owned by Malaysia's Axiata Group.

* Apple Inc. bumped the prices of most of its iPhone models sold in India after the government increased taxes on imported phones in the country, a move that aims to boost domestic manufacturing, Reuters reports.

* The National Company Law Tribunal adjourned the hearing of insolvency petitions against Reliance Communications to early January after a group of lenders sought more time to consider converting the RCom's loans into equity, The Economic Times (India) reports.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Ant Financial, the payment affiliate of Alibaba Group, will debut in 2018 its electronic payment services in Indonesia in a partnership with local media conglomerate PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk, Sina reports. The joint venture has obtained a license for electronic payment services from the central bank of Indonesia and will be launching its mobile payment platform DANA on BlackBerry Messenger.

* The leading figures in the Indonesian fintech industry has formed a partnership with their Australian counterparts for greater cooperation, particularly in the areas of risk management, data infrastructure, cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and regulatory technology, news site Kompas.com reports.

* Thai telcos Advanced Wireless Network Co. Ltd. and True Move H Universal Communication Co. Ltd. requested that the National Council for Peace and Order allow them to pay the last installment of their 900 MHz license fees of 59.57 billion Thai baht and 60.22 billion baht, respectively, in five smaller installments, Thai Post reports. The NCPO has passed along the request to the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission accordingly.

* The board of Thai telco Sky ICT Public Co. Ltd. approved the purchase of a 34% stake in Turnkey Communication Service Co. Ltd. at the price of 1.56 billion Thai baht, RYT9 reports. TKC specializes in telecommunications and ICT solutions and services.

* Iflix Sdn. Bhd. streamed 10 billion minutes across its platform in 2017, a 400% increase in cumulative viewing minutes from its 2 billion total minutes streamed at the end of 2016.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Universal Pictures' "Mortal Engines" will receive a 5% financial bonus from the New Zealand government as part of an agreement to promote New Zealand's screen and education interests, Variety reports.

* South Australia expanded its existing rebate scheme for post-production, digital and visual effects, and the new scheme will take effect Jan. 1, 2018, Variety reports. Local companies will get a rebate of 10% of their South Australian expenditure, from a current grant of $115,000.

* Uber is chasing tie-ups with more blue-chip corporate brands in 2018 to strengthen its position in Australia's ride-hailing market, The Australian Financial Review reports, citing Brooks Entwistle, Uber's new Singapore-based chief business officer for the Asia Pacific.

FEATURED NEWS

Net Neutrality repeal could threaten small businesses, including community banks: Critics say it could create a substantial competitive advantage for large companies that provide financial services at a time when Americans are increasingly managing more of their banking business online.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Q3'17 top video provider rankings: The slide of traditional multichannel service providers accelerated in the third quarter, amplified by DBS services' outsized declines.

Economics of Networks: Disney's planned purchase of Fox RSNs could send market in 2 opposite directions: Walt Disney's planned acquisition of 21st Century Fox's regional sports networks would create a sports content behemoth, one that could cause the pay TV market to react in two opposite directions.

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.