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Alibaba eyes $20B HK listing; Japan to restrict foreign ownership in tech sector

TOP NEWS

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is considering raising US$20 billion through a second listing in Hong Kong, people with knowledge of the matter told Bloomberg News. The tech giant, which made its New York market debut in 2014, is working with financial advisers on the offering and plans to confidentially file a listing application in the second half of 2019, the report said.

* Japan will add high-tech industries to a list of businesses where foreign ownership of Japanese firms is restricted, effective Aug. 1, Reuters reported. The announcement was made on the same day U.S. President Donald Trump met his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe. The new rule, which will be applied to 20 sectors in information and communications industries, comes amid heightening pressure from the U.S. in dealing with cybersecurity risks and technological transfers involving China.

* EQT Infrastructure, a fund managed by private equity firm EQT Partners AB, submitted a nonbinding offer to acquire all of the shares in Australian telecom operator Vocus Group Ltd. for A$5.25 per share in cash. Vocus' board has allowed EQT to conduct nonexclusive due diligence on the company and said there is no certainty that the process will result in a formal acquisition offer. The total offer price is A$3.3 billion, according to Reuters.

JAPAN

* Tokyo Electron Ltd., an electronics and semiconductor company, said it will repurchase up to ¥150 billion, or 8.5% of its own shares with an aim to lay the foundation for mid-to-long-term revenue growth.

* Tokyo-based virtual YouTuber management company mikai Inc. raised about ¥120 million through private equity placement with investors including local virtual meetup app Cluster Inc., The Nikkei reported.

SOUTH KOREA

* KT Corp. and LG U+ decided to exclude Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. in their upcoming backbone network building project, a move that is garnering attention as to whether the exclusion will spread out across South Korea amid U.S. calls to join its Huawei ban, ET News reported.

* Netflix Inc.'s South Korean unit did not change its "unlawful" terms and conditions when it altered its rules in line with local laws last month. According to ET News, it was found that Netflix South Korea's rules still has the clause that stipulates that if any service malfunction occurs by reasons attributable to the company, Netflix is not obligated to guarantee quality of services nor provide compensation to users. The rule is considered problematic by the Korea Fair Trade Commission and legal circles.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Alibaba Group will pay about 3.6 billion yuan to buy a 15% shareholding in China Transinfo Technology Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based company that develops technologies for smart transportation.

* Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd. is preparing to build its own smartphone with preinstalled apps, London's Financial Times reported, citing two sources. The TikTok owner is planning to add news feeds, games and short video apps to increase its audience.

* Youdao, the education arm of NetEase Inc., is preparing for an IPO in the U.S., 36Kr reported. Youdao's apps include a translation app similar to Google Translate, a notebook app, and a dictionary app.

* Huawei founder and CEO Ren Zhengfei told Bloomberg News that retaliation by Beijing against Apple Inc. was unlikely and that he would oppose any such move from China against the iPhone maker.

* In more Huawei news, the company signed an agreement with Tencent Holdings Ltd. to further cooperate on video content, Sina reported. Under the new tie-up, content from Tencent Video will be shown on Huawei's video app and users will be allowed to use one account to log in the two video apps.

* Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd. will build a smart manufacturing facility in the Taiwanese city of Kaohsiung, UDN reported. The new facility will produce servers and related products.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Reliance Capital Ltd. and Reliance Land will sell their entire equity stakes in Reliance Broadcast Network Ltd. to Music Broadcast Ltd. for a total enterprise value of 10.5 billion Indian rupees. Reliance Broadcast Network operates under the BIG FM Radio network brand name with 58 stations across India.

* U.S.-based independent investment company Invesco Ltd. is acquiring additional shares in Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. Under the transaction, Invesco will hike its stake in the Indian media company to 8.25% from 0.02%.

* In other Zee Entertainment news, the company revealed that its stake sale process is now in the advanced stage, with a formal announcement expected to be made in July, Mint reported.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thailand's Cybersecurity Act was published in the Royal Gazette on May 27, MThai reported. The new law came into effect despite strong opposition and criticism for its vague language.

* DiGi Telecommunications Sdn. Bhd. is partnering with ZTE Corp. to develop 5G technology in Malaysia, The Star Online reported. The partnership includes 5G live trials, pilot trials and fixed wireless access technology, among others.

* StarHub Ltd. is teaming up with U.S.-based software company Red Hat Inc. to provide specialized training for StarHub's integrated network engineering team. The initiative aims to develop Starhub's workforce and increase the adoption of open source innovation.

* Trax Technology Solutions Pte. Ltd., a Singapore-based startup that produces an image recognition technology used by consumer companies, is finalizing a deal to raise US$100 million at a pre-money valuation of about US$1.1 billion, Bloomberg News reported.

* The Thai unit of VMware Inc. is focusing on hybrid cloud, multi-cloud and virtualization, Krungthep Turakij reported. VMware Thailand will also be collaborating with Amazon Web Services Inc. and also Microsoft Corp.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Boost Mobile LLC founder Peter Adderton is preparing for a bidding war with companies including Amazon.com Inc. and Facebook Inc. as the Australian telco entrepreneur plans to buy back the U.S. business of Boost Mobile, which he sold to Sprint Corp. in 2004, according to The Australian Financial Review.

FEATURED NEWS

Data Dispatch: Disney dusts off Aladdin's lamp, hoping to find new magic: While a live-action remake of "Aladdin" is not expected to be the blockbuster home run that some of Disney's other live-action remakes were, forecasters expect a strong bow.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Axiata-Telenor merger would form largest telco group in emerging Asia-Pacific: Malaysia's Axiata Group and Norway's Telenor ASA announced on May 6, 2019 that they are planning to merge their telecommunications assets and operations in South and Southeast Asia.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Wil Hathaway 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.