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Xiaomi buys stake in TCL; China hits Baidu, Sohu in latest content crackdown

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Xiaomi buys stake in TCL; China hits Baidu, Sohu in latest content crackdown

TOP NEWS

* Xiaomi Corp. acquired a 0.48% stake in TCL Corp., a Chinese electronics manufacturer. The two companies agreed to cooperate on the development of smart products and electronic devices, Bloomberg News reports. The cost of the transaction is about 150 million yuan, according to Yicai.

* Chinese regulators ordered a one week pause on updates of some products of internet search giants Baidu Inc. and Sohu.com Ltd. as part of the first phase of a six-month campaign to scrub cyber content, the South China Morning Post reported. Baidu's mobile web and news apps were targeted by the country's cyberspace administration for spreading vulgar content, and the company was reportedly asked to implement a "deeper rectification" of the products, while Sohu was called out for disseminating offensive information.

* Globally, companies announced 103 deals with a transaction value of at least US$5 billion in 2018, which is the second-highest total since 2007, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence data as of Dec. 28, 2018.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Vietnam-based telco giant Viettel is in talks to acquire stakes in undisclosed Malaysian and Indonesian telecom operators, Reuters reports. The company is also aiming to double its Myanmar subscribers to 10 million, with plans to further expand in Asia, including North Korea and Cuba.

JAPAN

* Information Services International-Dentsu Ltd. invested in personal data bank company My Data Intelligence Inc., a unit of Japanese advertising giant Dentsu Inc. Under the transaction, Information Services International acquired 25% of shares of My Data Intelligence through private equity placement. Financial details were not disclosed.

* Nintendo Co. Ltd. may completely shift away from home console development in the future, Euro Gamer reports. President Shuntaro Furukawa noted the importance of flexibility as well as the desire to increase the company's smartphone game development for a continuous flow of revenue.

* Indonesian investing app startup Ajaib raised US$2.1 million in a round led by SoftBank Ventures, a unit of SoftBank Group Corp., Tech in Asia reports.

SOUTH KOREA

* Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced a deal wherein the iPhone maker will begin offering iTunes movies and TV shows on the South Korean tech giant's TV sets, Bloomberg News reports.

* Korea Post will form a 1.2 trillion won fund along with other private entities to invest in 5G, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicle and big data technologies, Digital Times reports. The KP-INNO Fund will be used to nurture small and medium sized companies with relevant potential.

* South Korea's Ministry of Science and ICT made corrective orders to five telecommunications service providers – SK Telecom Co. Ltd., KT Corp., LG U+, SK Broadband and Dreamline Co. Ltd. — to change the management grade of 12 telecommunications facilities, Digital Daily reports. The ministry aims to improve management of such facilities to prevent disasters from seriously impairing telecommunications services.

* LG Electronics Inc. is set to launch the LG Q9 smartphone in South Korea on Jan. 11, Financial News reports. The new budget model is equipped with premium functions such as LG Pay and artificial intelligence camera, and retails for 499,400 won.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Xiaomi is making its Redmi range into a sub-brand, with the first device under the new sub-brand expected to pack a 48MP camera, Android Authority reports.

* Lightspeed China Partners closed a pair of funds at US$560 million. Lightspeed China Partners IV LP collected US$360 million and will back early-stage technology businesses in China, while Lightspeed China Partners Select I LP garnered US$200 million and will make growth investments in that country.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. punished two employees for New Year greetings sent from the smartphone maker's official Twitter account using an iPhone. According to Bloomberg News, the company demoted and cut the pay of the employees.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Indian telecom minister Manoj Sinha said there is no proposal to ban telecom gear and equipment made by Huawei, Press Trust of India reports. Sinha added that telecom operators are free to procure equipment from any vendor based on their techno-commercial interests provided they adhere to the security provisions given in the licence.

* Google LLC's Launchpad India accelerator program will continue to focus on AI startups in the country, Mint reports.

* NVIDIA Corp. will expand its gaming footprint in India by adding 100 gaming cafes in the country this year, The Economic Times (India) reports.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* British Telecom announced the opening of a new office in Singapore, home to around 300 staff. The new BT office will be the hub for the British company to deliver its services across South East Asia, providing cybersecurity solutions and services to private and public sector organizations.

* MYTV Broadcasting Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian TV broadcaster, will be distributing 1.5 million free decoders in phases, The Star Online reports. The move follows the government's decision to switch off analog TV signals by the end of March.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission is working on the possibility of new spectrum auction methods, Thairath reports. The regulator said the current use of reserve prices and bidding make licenses absurdly expensive, which leads to additional burden on consumers.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Foxtel Australia Pty Ltd. Chief Commercial Officer Amanda Laing has been appointed commissioner to the Sport Australia board. Laing, who held a senior executive role in Nine Entertainment Co., will join the board of the federal government's national sports administration for a three-year term.

FEATURED NEWS

MarketWeek: Apple guidance leads to Street panic, though some analysts cite 'cyclicality': Apple's lowering of its revenue forecast for the holiday quarter led several analysts to downgrade the iPhone maker's stock. But other analysts said Apple's innovative edge and strong brand loyalty should help it regain investor confidence.

Data Dispatch: 'Escape Room' expected to be trapped behind holiday holdovers: In a typically slow first weekend of the new year, forecasters expect Columbia Pictures' horror title "Escape Room" to open behind global holiday hit "Aquaman."

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Phone viewing keeps climbing for YouTube in 2018: YouTube has faced numerous challenges in the U.S. over-the-top video market in recent years but has emerged largely unscathed, with viewing steadily growing throughout 2018.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, 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.