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Tencent buying Universal stake; Huawei cuts targets; Samsung halts chip output


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Tencent buying Universal stake; Huawei cuts targets; Samsung halts chip output


* A consortium led by Chinese conglomerate Tencent Holdings Ltd. agreed to purchase a 10% equity stake in Universal Music Group Inc. from France-based Vivendi SA in a deal that values the total music enterprise at €30 billion. This transaction is expected to close by the end of the first half of 2020, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. Under the terms of the agreement, the consortium has the option to purchase up to an additional 10% equity stake in Universal Music Group at the same enterprise value until Jan. 15, 2021.

* Chinese telecom equipment provider Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s total revenue in 2019 is expected to grow 18% year over year to 850 billion Chinese yuan, its rotating chairman, Eric Xu, said in a memo to Huawei staff. "These figures are lower than our initial projections," Xu said. At the end of 2018, the company had said it expects its annual sales revenues to reach US$108.5 billion for the year, up 21% year over year. "It's going to be a difficult year for us. ... Survival will be our first priority," he said.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. partly halted some semiconductor production at its Hwaseong chip complex in South Korea due to a minute-long blackout, Reuters reported, citing a report by Yonhap News Agency. The company had to stop DRAM and NAND flash production lines due to a problem with a regional power transmission cable, the report noted, adding that a full recovery is expected in about two to three days.


* Japan is planning a new law aimed at providing incentives for companies to use domestic parts in high-tech equipment, Bloomberg News reported, citing the country's Yomiuri newspaper. The move is reportedly aimed at increasing local competitiveness amidst "Chinese influence in security-related infrastructure." The government sees the incentives being used initially with the introduction of 5G telecommunication equipment and drones.


* The Korean Ministry of Science and ICT will invest about 5 trillion won in science and technology, and ICT research and development in 2020, Digital Daily reported. According to its 2020 R&D project plan, 60% of the ministry's total R&D budget will be spent on these sectors.

* A study undertaken by Korea's National Assembly Research Service found that the country's AI competence and preparation level is not yet at par with those of the major advanced countries, ZDNet Korea reported.


* The U.S. and China are set to sign a "phase one" trade deal Jan. 15 at the White House, President Donald Trump tweeted Dec. 31, 2019. The president said he will sign the deal with "high-level representatives of China" and that he will later travel to Beijing to begin the second round of talks.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s smart speaker, Tmall Genie, is now an independent business unit rather than being part of the company's artificial intelligence lab, Sina reported. Tmall Genie is led by Ku Wei, head of Alibaba's internet of things unit. The Chinese retail company expects the structural change to enhance the development of IoT.

* Tencent's WeChat unveiled three new features to the messaging platform, TechNode reported. The first feature, related articles, suggests articles related to the ones just read by the user. Secondly, the company integrated WeChat mini-programs with Weishi videos. WeChat also renamed its search feature and updated it to allow users to filter results between categories such as WeChat Moment Posts, Products, News, and more.

* The Hangzhou local government will offer various subsidies to local companies dedicated to AI research, Xinhua reported.


* Indian state-owned telecommunications company Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. began talks with the Central Board of Secondary Education and others for the sale of specific land parcels, The Economic Times of India reported, citing PTI. BSNL is reportedly working on asset monetization plans that could yield 3 billion Indian rupees, the report added, citing a senior government official. India's telecom department also sounded out the Ministry of Finance about BSNL's plans to issue sovereign guarantee bonds, which could be floated in February following receipt of requisite approvals.

* Reliance Communications Ltd.'s committee of creditors will meet Jan. 2 to consider bids of Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd., Bharti Airtel Ltd., Varde Partners, and UVARCL, The Economic Times reported, citing people aware of the situation. The committee is reportedly seeking an extension of the deadline for the completion of the asset sale process. Some of the assets up for sale include airwaves in the 850 MHz band, about 43,000 telecom towers, as well as some fiber and data centers.


* The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission announced that the 700 MHz and 3.5 GHz bands are under consideration for allocation to a single entity comprising a consortium formed by multiple licensees, instead of individual licensees. The commission will undertake a tender process to allocate both bands, which were identified as the pioneer spectrum bands for the roll-out of 5G in the country.

* Indonesian telecommunications infrastructure company PT Mora Telematika Indonesia entered into an 856 billion Indonesian rupiah credit agreement with PT Bank Mandiri (Persero) Tbk, Investor Daily reported. The company will reportedly use the funds to overcome its cash flow gap.

* PT. Media Nusantara Citra Tbk, or MNC, an Indonesian cable television provider, launched a 24-hour broadcast channel called Vision Prime, Okezone reported. Vision Prime will offer content including reality shows, animation, as well as drama series.


* IVE Group Ltd. completed the acquisitions of Salmat Marketing Solutions and Reach Media New Zealand Ltd., the Australian and New Zealand catalog distribution business of Salmat Ltd. Financial details were not disclosed.


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Global Multichannel: Western Europe's continued fiber investments could benefit 5G: Operator investments in building out fiber to the home continue to gain momentum in the region, with many focusing on more densely populated areas with faster and higher turnover while other areas remain underserved.

Hyegyu Park, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.