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Lenovo founder to retire; Fujifilm to buy Hitachi unit; Google settles tax case


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Lenovo founder to retire; Fujifilm to buy Hitachi unit; Google settles tax case


* Lenovo Group Ltd. founder Liu Chuanzhi is retiring as chairman and executive director of Legend Holdings Corp., the parent company of Lenovo. In retirement, Liu will serve as a senior adviser of the company. Legend Holdings veteran Ning Min, who has held several senior roles including CFO and executive director, has been appointed chairman, effective Jan. 1, 2020.

* FUJIFILM Holdings Corp. subsidiary Fujifilm Corp. agreed to acquire Hitachi Ltd.'s diagnostic imaging-related unit to expand its healthcare business for an estimated ¥179 billion. The deal is expected to complete in July 2020, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

* Google LLC agreed to make a settlement payment of about A$481.5 million to settle a tax dispute with the Australian Taxation Office. The settlement comes from an audit that examined the Alphabet Inc. unit's tax practices between 2008 and 2018.

* Reelgood's universal streaming guide is launching in the U.K. in the first quarter of 2020 as part of an exclusive partnership with LG Electronics Inc., S&P Global Market Intelligence has learned. The deal will see the South Korean electronics manufacturer feature the Reelgood app on the home page of its smart TVs.


* Yahoo Japan, which recently changed its name to Z Holdings Corp., exited its local joint venture with Indian hotel chain OYO Rooms, The Nikkei reports. Yahoo sold about 30% stake in OYO Technology and Hospitality Japan, operator of the OYO Life service, to OYO Rooms in November. Yahoo did not disclose the reason for leaving the venture.

* NTT Advanced Technology Corp. teamed up with NTT DATA Corp. subsidiaries Everis Spain SLU and itelligence AG to develop a compliance management solution using robotic process automation. The solution aggregates and analyzes data from internal human resources and compliance on-premise and cloud-based systems. The NTT Group plans to start providing the service in the second quarter of 2020.


* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and Baidu Inc. will start mass-producing a cloud-to-edge AI accelerator chip early in 2020. The Baidu KUNLUN chip, which is built on Samsung's 14-nanometer process technology with its I-Cube package solution, offers 512 Gbps memory bandwidth and supplies up to 260 Tera operations per second at 150 watts.

* Naver Webtoon Corp. subsidiary Studio N will co-produce Netflix Inc.'s original Korean series "Sweet Home," which is based on a web comic, E Daily reports.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. opened two 5GX experience zones at Incheon International Airport, which will allow airport visitors to try 5G-enabled technologies such as augmented reality and artificial intelligence, Financial News reports.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd. hiked its stake in New York-listed online retailer Vipshop Holdings Ltd. to 9.6% through a series of open market transactions from Nov. 25 to Dec. 13. Tencent Mobility Ltd. purchased an aggregate of 6,472,841 American depositary shares in Vipshop for a total of US$84.19 million.

* In other Tencent news, the company is seeking the assistance of Singaporean state investor GIC Pte. Ltd. and other sovereign funds to help rescue a deal to purchase up to a 30% stake in Vivendi SA's Universal Music Group Inc., sources told Reuters. After private equity firms KKR & Co. Inc. and Hellman & Friedman LLC walked away from the deal, Tencent has struggled to find the capital to complete the transaction, raising concerns that negotiations with Vivendi could fall through, the sources added.

* Tencent Games and NVIDIA Corp. announced a collaboration to bring PC gaming in the cloud to China. Under the partnership, NVIDIA's GPU technology will power Tencent Games' START cloud gaming service, which gives users access to AAA games on underpowered devices.

* Newborn Town Inc., a Beijing-based mobile app developer and mobile advertising platform, plans to raise up to HK$244.8 million in an initial public offering in Hong Kong. The company plans to offer 136 million shares at maximum offer price of HK$1.80 per share. The final offer price will be announced on or before Dec. 30.

* Tencent Video and iQIYI Inc. lowered the tariffs for their VIP members after the companies came under fire on social media for charging premium subscribers additional fees for earlier access to shows, National Business Daily reports. Tencent Video reduced the fee to 3 yuan per show from 50 yuan for six shows. IQIYI also modified its pricing to 3 yuan per show, but with a limit of six shows per user.

* Telefónica SA will reduce the amount of equipment it buys from Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. for the development of its core 5G network in Europe, Reuters reports, citing Chief Technology and Information Officer Enrique Blanco.

* The U.S. government is finalizing a set of five rules to limit exports of sophisticated technology to adversaries, such as China, Reuters reports. The rules will cover products like quantum computing and 3D printing technologies.


* Bharti Airtel Ltd. is offering premium streaming service Lionsgate Play to its users in India, as part of a tie-up with Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and Starz's subscription streaming platform Starzplay. Subscribers of the Indian telecom operator will be able to watch content from Lionsgate Play through the Airtel Xstream mobile app and web platforms. The content will be available in multiple Indian languages and spans various genres.

* The U.S.-India Business Council plans to lobby U.S. officials and Indian lawmakers in order to dilute parts of a privacy bill which could hurt businesses, Reuters reports, citing three sources familiar with the plans. India's Personal Data Protection Bill will require companies such as Google and Facebook Inc. to change how they store and process local user data.


* Singtel is adding Blue Ant Media Inc.'s general entertainment channel to its Singtel TV and Singtel TV GO platforms on Dec. 23, World Screen reports. Blue Ant Entertainment offers reality, drama, award shows, celebrity talk shows and entertainment news content.

* Warner Bros. International Television Distribution Inc. restructured its sales operations in Asia, Deadline reports. The company promoted Jae Chang to senior vice president for Southeast Asia and Korea. Meanwhile, Tony Cornish, vice president of sales at the distribution division, will leave the company at the end of March 2020.

* Singapore-based ride-hailing app GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. and gaming hardware manufacturer Razer Inc. must prove they are profitable in order to secure a digital banking license in the city-state, Bloomberg News reports. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is putting strong emphasis on profitability and strong capital requirements as part of its criteria to issue digital banking licenses.

* Sea Ltd.-owned gaming platform Garena Online Pvt. Ltd. is closing down its server for "Point Blank," a popular gaming title in Thailand, on Jan. 21, 2020, 4Gamers reports. Gamer database will be handed over to "Point Blank" developer Zepetto Co. Ltd., but the future of the game in Thailand remains unclear.

* Thailand TV operators Workpoint, One31, Channel 8, GMM25, MCOT and NBT will begin censoring single-use plastic bags in TV programs, The Standard reports. The move aims to contribute to the country's goal of eliminating single-use plastic by 2022.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will hold a meeting on Dec. 24 to decide which spectrum bands will be included in the February 2020 auction, Post Today reports.


* SKY Network Television Ltd. agreed to conditionally acquire streaming service Lightbox from Spark New Zealand Ltd. The deal will allow Sky to merge Lightbox with its own streaming platform Neon. Subject to the customary commercial, legal and regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to close in the next few months.

* Prime Media Group Ltd. said its proposed merger with Seven West Media Ltd. is unlikely to be approved by a majority of Prime shareholders based on the proxies received to date. However, the scheduled Dec. 19 shareholders' vote will proceed as planned. Following the vote, John Hartigan will retire from his position as chairman of Prime Media. The company has yet to name a replacement for Hartigan.

* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission raised preliminary competition concerns about the proposed sale of Pacific Magazines to Bauer Media Pty. Ltd. The regulator is primarily concerned about the impact of the proposed acquisition on some key weekly magazine titles.


US-China 'phase one' trade agreement creates more questions than answers: Discrepancies in statements from the U.S. and China on the first-phase agreement of a trade war ceasefire have some trade watchers and economists questioning how effective this partial detente will be.


Wireless Investor: Future global spectrum auctions: Over 100 spectrum auctions across 46 nations are planned over the next two years as regulators eye their 5G futures.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.

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