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Xiaomi in Japan; Beijing's foreign software curbs; SoftBank-WeWork deal update

TOP NEWS

* Xiaomi Corp. officially entered the Japanese market Dec. 9 by debuting several new products there. The company's latest smartphone, Mi Note 10, is now available for presale in Japan and will be available for shipment Dec. 16. Xiaomi is also selling its sports band Mi Smart Band 4 and portable power bank Mi 18W Charging Bank 3.

* Beijing ordered government agencies and public institutions to remove foreign computer equipment and software from their offices within three years, in a potential blow to HP Inc., Dell Technologies Inc. and Microsoft Corp. The move is part of Beijing's efforts to boost reliance on homegrown technologies and echoes Washington's attempts to limit the use of Chinese technology, according to London's Financial Times.

* SoftBank Group Corp. hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc. to arrange a US$1.75 billion line of credit for The We Co.'s office-sharing unit WeWork and have it in place before the end of 2019, Bloomberg News reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter. The Japanese conglomerate will be listed as the borrower, with WeWork as its co-borrower under the debt-financing plan.

JAPAN

* Japan Broadcasting Corp., or NHK, will slash its budget for online services, including simultaneous internet broadcasts of TV programs, to comply with a communications ministry request, Jiji Press reports. NHK will also cut the number of its satellite TV channels to three from four.

* Japan's governing party recommended that Tokyo should offer tax incentives for companies that invest in 5G infrastructure, according to Nikkei Asian Review. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's Liberal Democratic Party plans to include the proposal in its tax revision outline for 2020.

* LINE Corp. debuted a service that allows users to remit funds to bank accounts via its smartphone payment platform. LINE allows its Line Pay users to remit money to bank accounts held by nonusers of the service, according to The Japan Times.

SOUTH KOREA

* A Korean court handed jail terms of up to two years to three Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. executives for destroying evidence in relation to an alleged accounting fraud at Samsung Biologics Co. Ltd., Reuters reports.

* CJ Hello plans to change its name to LG Hello Vision once its merger with LG U+ gets clearance from South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT, ZDNet Korea reports. The cable TV operator also plans to appoint Song Gu-young, head of home media at LG U+, as its new representative director.

GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN MARKETS)

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. plans to equip more of its products with its own Harmony operating system, but its phones, tablets and computers will not be among them, Reuters reports. Wang Chenglu, president of Huawei Consumer Business Software, reiterated the company's earlier stance that it would still prefer to use Android on its phones.

* Shanghai Disneyland started the construction of a Zootopia-themed land. It is the first-ever Zootopia-themed land at any Disney park worldwide, and the eighth themed land at Shanghai Disneyland.

* China Central Television (CCTV)(CN)'s CCTV News opened a channel on anime-streaming platform Bilibili Inc., 36Kr reports. Major state-run media outlets such as China Daily and Global Times also have channels on Bilibili.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Bharti Telecom Ltd. is seeking government approval for the capital infusion of 49 billion Indian rupees from foreign investors, including Singapore-based mobile carrier Singtel, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing PTI. The investment will enhance overseas shareholding in Bharti Telecom to over 50%, making it a foreign entity. A source said India's telecom department is expected to approve the transaction this month.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* ZTE Corp. opened a new office in Indonesia, Okezone reports. The facility is dedicated to strengthening ZTE's collaborations with local conglomerate PT MNC Investama Tbk, doing business as MNC Group, and telecom operator PT Indosat Tbk, doing business as Indosat Ooredoo.

* PT Telekomunikasi Selular will provide 4G networks and services on the Jakarta-Cikampek II elevated highway, Tek.ID reports. The telco built and installed about 82 telecom towers to support the area.

* Thailand-based CAT Telecom PCL signed a memorandum of understanding with Rajamangala University of Technology Srivijaya to jointly work on telecom and digital technology research, Ban Muang reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* As expected, Seven West Media Ltd. sweetened the deal terms of its proposed merger with regional broadcaster Prime Media Group Ltd. The Australian company said it has consented to the payment of a special dividend by Prime worth A$0.03 to Prime shareholders for each Prime share they hold, subject to the merger becoming effective. Prime shareholders will also receive 0.4582 Seven West Media shares for each Prime share they hold.

FEATURED NEWS

The US Week Ahead: Multistate challenge to T-Mobile/Sprint deal begins: The multistate lawsuit, led by New York and California, alleges the deal would harm innovation and lead to higher prices for consumers.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: Amazon Prime Video's originals on the rise as movie viewing wanes: Original content is neck and neck with movies as the content type viewed by the largest share of Amazon Prime Video users according to data from U.S. online consumer surveys conducted by Kagan from 2017 to 2019.

Joji Sakurai, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.

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