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Apple pulls Skype, VoIP apps in China; Tencent market value surpasses Facebook


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Apple pulls Skype, VoIP apps in China; Tencent market value surpasses Facebook


* Apple Inc. pulled a number of Voice over IP apps, including Microsoft Corp.'s Skype, from its App Store in China, The New York Times reports, citing a confirmation by a company spokeswoman. In a statement, the Apple representative said the apps were removed after the Ministry of Public Security notified that they were not complying with local law. The spokeswoman said the apps remain available in other markets.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. overtook Facebook Inc. in market value a day after it shattered the US$500 billion barrier, now becoming the first Chinese tech company to become one of the world's five biggest corporations, Bloomberg News reports. Tencent is now valued at US$523 billion after boosting its market value by about US$292 billion upon closing on Nov. 21, compared to Facebook's US$522 billion valuation on Nov. 20.

* Foxconn, or Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., the main assembler of Apple, has been employing high-school students to assemble the iPhone X in an effort to catch up with demand after production delays, the Financial Times reports. Six of the students told FT they routinely worked 11-hour days assembling the iPhone X at a factory in China, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law.

* U.K.-based advertising giant WPP Plc agreed to tender all of its 24.9% stake, or 10,331,100 shares, in its Japanese partner Asatsu-DK Inc. to private equity firm Bain Capital. Under the deal, WPP will also withdraw its arbitration and petition cases against Asatsu-DK.


* SoftBank Group Corp.'s multibillion dollar investment in Uber Technologies Inc. opens up the possibility of combining it with other ride-hailing assets the Japanese group owns, industry sources told Reuters. SoftBank is also an investor in Uber's rivals across Asia, including Southeast Asia's Grab, China's DiDi Chuxing and India's Ola.

* Japanese social media operator Machimachi announced that it has raised ?170 million from venture capital Anri, BEENEXT Capital Management Pte. Ltd. and individual investors. The fund is to be used to expand its services as well as marketing to acquire users.

* BlackBerry Ltd. announced that it is expanding its network of embedded technology experts with two new partners in Japan, Fujisoft Inc. and Hitachi Industry & Control Solutions Ltd. Two companies joined a specialized Value-Added Integrator program announced by BlackBerry in March, which aims to build a worldwide network of experts trained on BlackBerry QNX and Certicom technologies.

* Hitachi Ltd. will make electric vehicle motors in China as soon as fiscal 2020 via newly established Chinese unit Hitachi Automotive Electric Motor Systems (Guangzhou) Ltd. The company aims to capitalize on a government initiative there to boost production of greener vehicles.


* South Korean Minister of Science and ICT Yu Yeong-min officially announced that the ministry will supply new spectrum in 2018 to ensure the successful deployment of 5G services, Digital Times reports. He also said that the price of spectrum allocation will be adjusted as soon as possible.

* South Korean telco LG Uplus Corp. launched a smart cloud-based drone control system, entering the drone business in full swing, Money Today reports. The new autonomous drone service connects the control system and the device using long-term evolution networks, enabling the control of drones from hundreds of kilometers away.

* South Korean game company NCsoft Corp. will launch its MMORPG game "Lineage M" in Taiwan on Dec. 11, Financial News reports. Taiwan-based game company Gamania Digital Entertainment Co. Ltd. is going to service the game in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau. The pre-registration for the game hit 2.51 million as of Nov. 19.


* Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures Entertainment and Dalian Wanda Group Corp. Ltd. have decided not to renew their movie financing and marketing deal, Variety reported Nov. 21. A Sony Pictures Entertainment spokesman reportedly said the deal was "always intended to finish after 'The Emoji Movie.'"

* Tencent Holdings led a fundraising round for service robot startup Yunji Technology, Yicai Global reports. The round marks Tencent's latest investment in the robotics sector following previous deals made with Leju (Shenzhen) Robotics Co., Ganker Robot and UBTECH Robotics Corp.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd., Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and 50 other companies formed an alliance on internet transportation and logistics industry innovation, Chinanews reports. The alliance, backed by the government, will work toward enhancing the use of internet in the transportation and logistics industry, and putting forth research ideas into commercial use.


* Facebook is bringing its video streaming service Watch to India during the first quarter of 2018, The Ken reports.

* ALTBalaji is eyeing distribution and billing partnerships with domestic and foreign telecom operators, including Vodafone and Bharti Airtel. ALTBalaji chief marketing officer Manav Sethi told The Economic Times (India) that the Balaji Telefilms Ltd.-owned streaming service plans to add 50 new shows to its content catalog and allot 1 billion Indian rupees for marketing in the next fiscal year.

* The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India is proposing relaxing spectrum holding limit rules, which include removing the 50% cap on intra-band spectrum holdings of carriers, but putting a cap of 50% on the combined spectrum holding in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz and 900 MHz bands. The telecom regulator also suggested increasing the overall holding limit to 35% from 25%, according to The Economic Times (India).

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. will focus on providing TV services through its direct-to-home platform Airtel Digital TV as well as through its over-the-top service Airtel TV. According to Television Post, Airtel will work on accelerating the adoption of HD set-top boxes on Airtel Digital TV and revamping Airtel TV.

* Discovery Communications Inc.'s Discovery Communications India is seeking the intervention of Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal to help it recover dues worth around 75 million rupees from Reliance Digital TV, the direct-to-home business of Reliance Communications Ltd., Television Post reports.

* Experts are warning that maintaining quality network coverage and consumer experience could be a huge challenge for the combined entity of Vodafone India and Idea Cellular Ltd. once their merger is complete, The Economic Times (India) reports.


* Philippine Telegraph and Telephone Corp. Chairman Salvador Zamora said it will partner with Chinese companies to challenge the country's two dominant telecom operators, PLDT Inc. and Globe Telecom, Reuters reports. The announcement comes shortly after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte offered China to launch a third telecom provider in the country. Two of China's top 3 telecom operators are reportedly keen on entering the Philippine market to challenge the current telco duopoly in the country, Rappler reports, citing the Philippines' Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

* The Thai cabinet approved the draft of a new law proposed by the Consumer Protection Board that gives better protection to mobile phone consumers, Khaosod reports. Under the new law, a mobile phone that breaks due to a possible defect within six months from the purchase date could be replaced with a new one by the seller, among other measures, according to the report.

* Indonesian digital media startup IDN Media Company has announced their undisclosed Series B funding led by venture capital companies East Ventures and Hong Kong-based investment company Central Exchange, industry website Tech in Asia reports. This new investment will be used to accelerate the number of users growth and to develop the product and technology.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co. Ltd. will help Thailand's Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) set up an innovation center in Thailand, Krungthep Turakij reports. The center will be the country's first electricity-oriented innovation center.

* Uber Technologies Inc.'s food ordering and delivery service UberEATS is expanding to four new Bangkok districts, namely Pracha Chuen, On Nut, Ram Inthra Expressway Frontage Road and Pin Klao, Siam Phone reports.


* Uber Technologies Inc. is facing an industry class-action suit for illegally operating in the Australian state of Victoria, the Australian Financial Review reports. Law firm Maurice Blackburn is calling for Victorian taxi and car hire drivers negatively impacted by Uber's entry to join the class action for loss and damages. Uber has been operating in the state since 2013 but was only legalized in August this year.

* Inc. could be launching in Australia this week, Lifehacker (Australia) reports, citing an email sent to Amazon Marketplace sellers. According to the email, Amazon will start an internal testing phase to a small number of customers starting Nov. 23.

* Acer Australia is exploring the possibility of moving into the digital signage market after its parent company Acer Inc. partnered with Japanese software integration service provider SMedio on marketing the Taiwanese company's digital signage products in Japan, ChannelNews reports.


Startup Spotlight: Zone TV looks to bring linear TV into digital age: Bucking the prevailing trends, Zone TV is operating dynamic linear TV networks populated by digital-first content.


Consumer Insights: How consumers in Europe and the U.S. watch OTT video on the TV: A comparison of European and U.S. consumer surveys reveal that the devices consumers prefer to use to deliver online video content to the TV varies substantially.

Global Multichannel: LatAm CEO Survey 2017 - 5G may cannibalize fixed broadband, rollout begins 2020: Latin American Mobile telephony operators to begin 5G commercial deployment between 2020 and 2023; 50% of surveyed CEOs expect 5G to cannibalize fixed broadband.

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.