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Vodafone India tower biz receives bids; Chinese food delivery startup seeks $5B

TOP NEWS

* American Tower Corp., asset management fund Brookfield and local infrastructure fund IDFC Project Equity Infra have separately bid for the 11,000 individual towers of Vodafone India, valued at US$600 million, two people with direct knowledge of the development told The Economic Times (India). The bids were submitted recently and the Vodafone Group Plc unit will enter into an exclusivity agreement with one of the bidders, one of the two people told ET.

* Chinese food delivery and restaurant review company Meituan Dianping is planning to raise up to US$5 billion in fresh capital, Bloomberg News reports, citing people with direct knowledge of the matter. Tencent Holdings Ltd. will participate in the funding round, according to the report.

* SoftBank Group made a US$250 million equity investment in U.S.-based online lender Kabbage Inc.

* Baidu Inc. is in talks to sell its delivery service Waimai to rival Ele.me, Technode reports, citing financial magazine Caijing. The merger will reportedly be announced in two to three weeks.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* As expected, LinkedIn Corp. has launched LinkedIn Lite, the pared-down version of its app, in more than 60 countries, including Cambodia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines.

* Malaysian telco Axiata Group Bhd. is said to be divesting its business units in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and Indonesia, The Edge Markets reports. Axiata needs to raise some funds to meet its capital expenditure requirements.

JAPAN

* Toshiba Corp. said that it would invest about ¥195 billion for the additional production facility being built at its main semiconductor memory plant in Yokkaichi, Mie Prefecture without its partner Western Digital Corp. Its subsidiary Toshiba Memory Corp. will bear the entire investment, which is ¥15 billion more than the initial plan. Toshiba also said that it had stopped blocking Western Digital from accessing shared databases and chip samples at their joint venture after the California Court of Appeal ruled in favor of Western Digital.

* As expected, Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten Inc. has partnered with Chinese home-sharing platform Tujia to expand its vacation rental business. Rakuten's vacation rental platform Rakuten Lifull Stay Inc. will partner with Tujia to encourage Chinese tourists to visit Japan.

* NEC Corp. is looking to pull out of its electric vehicles lithium-ion battery business by selling its battery electrode subsidiary NEC Energy Devices Ltd. to a Chinese investment fund GSR Group for about ¥15 billion, Kyodo reports.

* Seiko Noda, who had served as chair of the Liberal Democratic Party General Council, was appointed as minister of internal affairs and communications, replacing Sanae Takaichi, The Yomiuri Shimbun reports.

* Sharp Corp. named Yoshihisa (Bob) Ishida, executive vice president, as CEO for its European operations. Ishida takes over from Tetsuji (Ted) Kawamura, who will be moving to a position at Sharp Electronics Corp. (USA), InAVate reports. Ishida will be based in Japan.

SOUTH KOREA

* KT Corp. said that the company held the Strategic Cooperation Framework Agreement 5G working group meeting with major telcos in Japan and China to prepare 5G network services for the upcoming Olympics. The SCFA is the biggest telco consultative group in Asia, comprising South Korea's KT Corp., China Mobile Ltd. and Japan's NTT DOCOMO. The three telcos exchanged plans to verify core 5G technologies and how to expand new services and business.

* SK Group's internet service unit SK Broadband has started offering the 10Gbps internet services on a pilot basis for the first time in South Korea. Using the NG-PON2 technology that allows a maximum traffic transmission of 40 GB, the company's new 10 Gbps internet service can download a 1 GB file within 0.8 second. The company plans to develop 100 Gbps internet technologies by 2020.

* LG Corp.'s LG Electronics Inc. will utilize 18:9 OLED displays for its next premium smartphone model that is expected to be launched in the second half of this year. Utilizing the bezel bending technology, the new smartphone will be smaller in size than the previous V20 model but will have a bigger screen.

* Naver Corp. is expected to have invested approximately 1.33 trillion South Korean won in core technologies including AI and voice recognition, Digital Times reports. The company has invested 560 billion won for internal R&D and 774.2 billion won for external investment, which marks the biggest investment in the company's history. The company is expected to inject a similar amount in technology investment for the second half of this year.

* Pandora TV Co. Ltd. signed a deal with the entertainment firm HiCC to cooperate on content and influencer businesses, Maeil Business Newspaper reports. The company plans to secure more original content by collaborating with HiCC' influencers in various lifestyle categories.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Foxconn Technology Group, formally Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., is considering to invest at a second site in Wisconsin in the U.S., USA Today reports. The new plant will not share the same focus on flat screen TVs as the one already agreed to be built in southeastern Wisconsin, and sources say the decision will "probably clear up in 45 days."

* Chinese video-streaming site AcFun enacted a real name registration rule for users to upload content to the website, Tencent News reports. Users will have to pair their mobile phone numbers to their accounts, with one number eligible for one account only.

* China has green-lit the creation of a so-called cyberspace court in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, to address growing internet-related issues. The online court would cater to disputes associated with internet usage, including shopping, services, loans and copyrights. Its jurisdiction is limited to Hangzhou.

* French luxury group Kering SA and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will cooperate to protect intellectual property rights and take joint enforcement action against alleged violators.

* Taiwan Mobile Co. Ltd. will participate in the 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum auction in the area in October, cnYES news reports. The company attained a 67% 4G penetration rate in the first half of the year, and targeted a boost to 74% by the end of the year.

* Hong Kong-based digital wallet operator TNG FinTech Group will soon close a funding round that will give it a valuation of about US$500 million, a source familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Singapore-based Singtel said it will team up with Ericsson AB, Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and ZTE Corp. to deploy Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output technology commercially on its LTE-advanced mobile network to enhance mobile data speed at special events.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission held an e-auction in which telcos bid to provide broadband internet and mobile phone access to 3,920 rural villages across the country, Prachachat reports. The bidders' accumulated prices came in 624 million Thai baht under the proposed budget of 13.61 billion baht.

* The Thai Ministry of Digital Economy and Society added 800 more court orders to remove URLs to Facebook Inc. and Alphabet Inc. unit Google Inc.'s YouTube LLC, Daily News reports. The NBTC, who is in charge of carrying out these orders, has given a deadline of Aug. 7.

* Celcom Axiata Bhd., a Malaysian telco company, aims to increase its 4G service outreach by the end of the year, The Malay Mail Online reports. Celcom has budgeted 1.5 billion Malaysian ringgits of capital expenditures used mainly for expansion work this year.

* Amobee, an ad-tech subsidiary of Singtel, appointed a new Chief Client Officer, Katie Ford, and a new Chief Technology Officer, Shouvick Mukherjee, Mumbrella Asia reports. The hires served to expand Amobee's management team following the company's recent acquisition of Turn, a technology platform for marketers.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Amazon.com Inc. is opening its first warehouse in Australia as the company readies the launch of its retail operations in the country, Reuters reports. The e-commerce giant selected an industrial area in the Melbourne suburb of Dandenong South for the site of its 24,000-square-meter fulfillment center, following a lease deal arranged via commercial real estate firm CB Richard Ellis, News.com.au reports.

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. has been appointed as the official telecommunications and technology partner for the Rugby League World Cup 2017.

* Jane Huxley, former managing director of Pandora Media Inc., will now serve as managing director for Spotify Ltd. Australia and New Zealand, The Industry Observer reports.

* Australian political party One Nation is set to demand a spending review of Australian broadcasters Australian Broadcasting Corp. and Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) (AU) in exchange for its support for the government's media reform package, The Australian reports. Meanwhile, Australian television stocks and Fairfax Media Ltd. reportedly experienced an early surge in the Aug. 3 trade, shortly after One Nation's Pauline Hanson softened its stance on the media reform package.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* India's National Company Law Tribunal has approved the proposed merger between Bharti Airtel Ltd. and Telenor India.

* Netflix Inc. ordered two new original series from India, the cricket and corruption drama "Selection Day" and supernatural detective series "Again."

* Bharti Infratel Ltd. and Indus Towers Ltd. are objecting to the merger of Reliance Communications Ltd. and Aircel as they need clarification on how their dues will be paid off by RCom if the merger goes through, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone India is partnering with to Discovery Communications Inc. to add 12 Discovery HD and standard definition channels on its streaming platform Vodafone Play, The Economic Times (India) reports.

FEATURED NEWS

Sling TV CEO on advanced ads: 'We think we have it cracked now': As DISH continued to shed pay TV subscribers in the second quarter, company executives explained why they are very optimistic about the opportunities presented by its over-the-top Sling TV offering.

FCC chairman looks to improve the 'Game of Thrones' of broadband data sets: The Federal Communications Commission is hoping more service providers, both large and small, will participate in its Connect America Fund Phase II auction. It is also ready to improve Form 477, which is used to create the agency's broadband maps.

5G driving Verizon's cable moves: Analysts have suggested Verizon might need to buy a major cable operator, but the telco's recent fiber deal is much smaller and more targeted.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Global markets update – Middle East & Africa, Finland, Spain: Kagan has published updated Global Multichannel & Broadband analysis for two markets and one regional summary.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Nicole Shiwon Kim, Emily Lai, Wil Hathaway and Kevin Osmond 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.