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China to merge TV and radio outlets; Alibaba mulls buying Rocket Internet unit

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China to merge TV and radio outlets; Alibaba mulls buying Rocket Internet unit


* China has approved the merger of its state television and radio networks into one mega broadcaster, a person familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News. China Central Television, China Radio International and China National Radio will be consolidated into a new broadcaster called Voice of China. The combined group was designed to "strengthen the party's ability to shape public opinion and would serve as a key vehicle for China to project its image to the world," according to a source.

* SoftBank Corp., the mobile arm of SoftBank Group Corp., announced that it will acquire IDC Frontier Inc. and FirstServer Inc., which are wholly owned subsidiaries of Yahoo Japan Corp. Through the acquisition, SoftBank aims to bolster its cloud services for corporate and individual customers.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is in talks about a possible acquisition deal for Daraz, the Pakistani e-commerce unit of Rocket Internet SE, Bloomberg News reports, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. The source said a price for the potential transaction was still under discussion, adding that no decisions have been made yet and deliberations were still at an early stage.


* NTT DOCOMO will delist its shares from the New York Stock exchange on April 13. The move underscores the NTT Group's transition to entrusting global expansion to information technology units, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

* U.S.-based artificial intelligence chip company Mythic announced the closing of a US$40 million Series B round led by SoftBank Ventures.

* Tokyo Stock Exchange operator Japan Exchange Group launched an AI system designed to detect price manipulation and other illegal activities. The system uses technologies developed by Hitachi Ltd. and NEC Corp.

* NTT Data Corp., the systems integration arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., announced that it struck a partnership with Taiwan's E.SUN Commercial Bank to launch a service allowing local e-commerce firms to accept Taiwanese payments in the Japanese market. The service, which is set to launch April 3, will accept Taiwanese bank card payments and cash deposits.


* The Korea Fair Trade Commission launched a probe into KT Corp., SK Broadband and LG Uplus Corp. over alleged price fixing when they were bidding for supplying lines to public institutions, E Daily reports.

* Korea Broadcast Advertising Corp. and Huayi Investment formed a 10 billion South Korean won fund to invest in web content and media content companies, ZDNet Korea reports.

* Daiso Korea started selling Long-Term Evolution USIM cards for 5,000 won in partnership with mobile virtual network operators Smartel Corp., Annex Telecom Co. Ltd. and Free Telecom Ltd., ET News reports.


* Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said the government will improve conditions to attract foreign-listed internet companies to return to the A-share market and adopt new policies to encourage local tech companies to be listed.

* Major Chinese smartphone manufacturers, including Xiaomi Inc., ZTE Corp., Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and Lenovo Group Ltd., formed an alliance to share mini-applications, or apps that do not require downloading, to combat Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s Wechat mini applications, 21st Century Business Herald reports.

* Hong Kong's ViuTV licensed more than 100 hours of factual content from All3media International Ltd., which include Gordon Ramsay titles "Culinary Genius" and "The F Word USA," Variety reports.

* Chinese AI facial recognition company CloudWalk Technology Co. Ltd., in partnership with Intel Corp., launched an AI face recognition camera.


* Videocon Industries Ltd. divested its 51.32% stake in insurance unit Liberty Videocon General Insurance Co. Ltd. for an undisclosed sum. Videocon sold a 26% stake in the insurer to Diamond Dealtrade Ltd. and the remaining 25.32% stake to Enam Securities Pvt. Ltd.

* India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Smriti Irani said the government is planning to monitor and regulate online news content by creating a code of conduct and legislation that media agencies will be required to follow, The Wire reports.

* India's Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal extended a stay order on the encashment of Aircel Cellular Ltd.'s bank guarantees worth more than 12 billion rupees, The Economic Times reports. The tribunal, which decided to wait until the Supreme Court hears the spectrum charge case involving Aircel and Department of Telecom, will decide on the matter on April 19.

* Ericsson has sought the Delhi High Court's intervention to recover dues worth 2.5 billion rupees from bankrupt Aircel and its subsidiaries, The Economic Times reports.

* Shemaroo Entertainment Ltd. promoted Hiren Gada to CEO of the company. He will also continue to serve as CFO of the company. Additionally, the board of directors redesignated Kranti Gada to COO from his role as senior vice president of new business development.

* Vice India is preparing for its launch in April by forming a team of 40 people that includes journalists, editors, producers and creatives who will work on content production and distribution, as well as editorial and creative services. The company also appointed Chanpreet Arora as CEO and Samira Kanwar as head of content, according to Television Post.

* VuLiv Player teamed up with bus aggregating platform Shuttl to launch VuScreen, an in-ride mobile entertainment service that allows passengers to stream 400 hours of video content on-the-go, Times of India reports.

* Tata Sky Ltd. tapped Accedo to provide a unified live and video-on-demand experience across the web and Android and iOS apps for its mobile video service.


* Axiata Group Bhd. subsidiary Dialog Broadband Networks (Private) Ltd. has agreed to acquire a 35% equity stake in Digital Reality (Private) Ltd. The purchase aims to establish, operate, and manage a joint venture data center in Sri Lanka.

* Singapore's Toggle and Hong Kong's ViuTV are collaborating on their first co-production, "Bluetick," a drama slated to debut in September.

* Singtel's Singtel Group announced plans to expand its mobile wallet business to offer cross-border payment services. The company plans to expand this service from the second half of 2018 to other regional associates, including Airtel, Globe and Telkomsel.

* Thailand startup mu Space and Advanced Technology Co. Ltd. enlisted the help of U.S.-based aerospace manufacturer Blue Origin LLC to send a satellite into the geostationary transfer orbit with the latter's New Glenn rocket in 2020, Khaosod reports. The satellite will reportedly be used to boost Thailand's internet infrastructure and communications.

* StarHub Ltd. is collaborating with local sustainable energy firm Sunseap to enter the city-state's Open Electricity Market.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission ordered Voice TV to suspend its "Tonight Thailand" programming for 15 days for broadcasting a documentary on the French Revolution with commentary. The regulator stated that the show's content could incite political conflict.


* TVNZ enlisted AsiaSat to deliver live coverage of the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Coverage by TVNZ will be distributed through AsiaSat 5 to rights-holding broadcasters in Asia in partnership with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union and TVNZ's sub-licensees in the region.

* TPG Telecom Ltd. is expected to bid aggressively to secure 5G spectrum at Australia's upcoming auction, with TPG boss David Teoh saying the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission should impose spectrum caps, The Australian reports.


CME's interest in NEX may spark bidding war among exchanges: CME is weighing a bid to acquire NEX Group, but it may not be alone in its pursuit of the London-based electronic-trading company.


Economics of Internet: State of Taiwan online video: Subscription: Subscription video on demand has struggled to gain ground in Taiwan due to the prevalence of free content in the form of value-added video options used by telcos, legitimate ad-supported video platforms and pirated content.

Multichannel Trends: Mapping concentrations of 1 Gig Internet availability: A geographical analysis of Kagan's survey findings and estimates for gigabit Internet availability suggests smaller ISPs have taken the lead on providing wide-scale access within their footprints.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Kevin Osmond and Patrick Tibke 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.

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