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Apple CEO wants continued open China market; EU ignores US calls to ban Huawei


* Apple Inc. CEO Tim Cook called on China to continue opening up its markets to stimulate the global economy while speaking at a China Development Forum in Beijing, Reuters reported.

* The European Commission has decided to ignore U.S. calls to ban Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. and will ask member countries to share more data to tackle cybersecurity risks related to 5G networks, Reuters reported.

* JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. CEO Kangping Chen denied an allegation by Hanwha Q Cells USA Inc. and Hanwha Q Cells & Advanced Materials Corp. that JinkoSolar has been shipping solar equipment to the U.S. that contains a competitor's patented technology.


* Hitachi Industrial Equipment Systems Co. Ltd., a unit of Hitachi Ltd., announced a full takeover of KEC Corp., a developer of robotic production lines, acquiring 100% of the shares owned by Tokio Marine Capital Co. Ltd.

* Dentsu Inc. announced the acquisition of global sponsorship and format sales rights for an exhibition of manga cartoon Cardcaptor Sakura. The purpose of the acquisition is to provide marketing opportunities for companies and entertainment groups in Asia and beyond.

* NEC Corp. announced the conclusion of software-defined wide area network trials with the University of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. The goal of the trials was to increase the cybersecurity capabilities among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

* SoftBank Group Corp. promoted Lydia Jett as a partner in its SoftBank Vision Fund LP, Bloomberg News reported.


* Prosecutors have launched a fresh probe to investigate allegations that KT Corp.'s current top executives, led by chairman Hwang Chang-gyu, created a 1.1 billion won slush fund between May 2014 and October 2017, and spent about 438 million won of that money to bribe 99 lawmakers, The Korea Herald reported, citing prosecution sources.

* In other KT news, the company announced it will partner with VR experience zone operator 3D Factory Co. Ltd., in order to distribute its VR platform and content to 60 of 3D Factory's stores across South Korea, ZDNet Korea reported. KT plans to expand its VR platform and content distribution to other operators such as resorts and supermarkets in South Korea and beyond to Southeast Asia.

* SK Broadband is expected to divest its mobile media service platform Oksusu, in a bid to merge it with POOQ, a TV program streaming service of CAP which jointly operated by Munhwa Broadcasting Corp., Seoul Broadcasting System and Korean Broadcasting System, ET News reported. The business divestiture will be put up for a vote at the SK Broadband board meeting as well as the general meeting of shareholders, both scheduled to be held on March 27.

* LG CNS Co. Ltd. disclosed its plan to transfer more than 90% of LG affiliates' IT systems to cloud services by 2023, Digital Daily reported.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd. will lead a new round of investment in Ke, a real estate startup, 36kr reported. Tencent is already testing Ke's service on WeChat in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu, Tianjin and Suzhou.

* Huawei and ZTE Corp. are contemplating starting production in India to avoid paying 20% basic customs duty imposed by the government in 2018, The Economic Times (India) reported.

* Huawei unveiled a cloud-based road solution and initiated an ecosystem called 1+N alliance, Securities Times reported. Navinfo, a Beijing-based self-driving technology company, became the first partner.

* Zhu Jun, founder of the Shanghai-based online game operator The9 Ltd., is rumored to be in talks with Faraday&Future Inc.'s founder Jia Yueting, The Paper reported. The two parties are looking to build a joint venture in China to sell Faraday Future's cars in the country.


* Logistics services provider Delhivery Pvt. Ltd. secured more than US$400 million in a funding round, led by SoftBank Vision Fund, The Economic Times (India) reported. Existing investors, Carlyle Asia Partners IV LP and Fosun International Ltd. also participated.

* Technology firm NSEIT, a subsidiary of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd., acquired cybersecurity company Aujas Networks Pvt. Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reported. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

* Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. is set to split its fiber and tower businesses into two separate units in the near future after the company law tribunal gave a thumbs up to the plan, The Economic Times (India) reported.

* Indian online tutoring startup Byju's is now valued at US$5.4 billion, after securing a US$25 million fund from its existing investor, General Atlantic, The Economic Times (India) reported.


* Thailand-based telco Total Access Communication Public Co. Ltd., or Dtac, will invest 13 billion baht to 15 billion baht in 2019 on maintaining customer loyalty, including hiring a new chief marketing officer and launching a new-model Dtac shop, Prachachat reported. The company will also invest over 100 million baht in esports ventures this year.

* In other Dtac news, the Thai telco called on all state agencies to accelerate 5G spectrum allocation plans and coordinate with private sector and key industry stakeholders to optimize the launch, Prachachat reported. Dtac said certainty on the 5G rollout and other technical issues will help private businesses to map out investment plans.

* Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology tested Licensed Assisted Access with PT Hutchison 3 Indonesia, Indotelko reported. This technology will be implemented in Indonesia as it will have several functions such as listen before talk, dynamic frequency selection, transmit power control, and frequency channel selection.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service PCL launched AIS Fibre Esports, a home broadband package specifically designed for esports. The package comes with a dual-band Wi-Fi router, allowing users to separate their gaming data use from general broadband use.


* Starts at 60 Pty Ltd., which operates online community for seniors in Australia and New Zealand, secured A$2.7 million from its existing shareholders including Seven West Media Ltd., Mumbrella reported. The company will use the capital to expand its travel business, Travel at 60. Queensland Business Development Fund, The Hollard Insurance Co. Pty Ltd., the QUT Bluebox and private investors also contributed to the capital raising.

* In another Seven West Media news, the media company logged the largest revenue share of the free-to-air networks in February by securing 42.3% of the advertising market during the month, The Sydney Morning Herald reported. Nine Entertainment Co. came in second with 37% revenue, as per Standard Media Index data.


MarketWeek: Viacom girds for DIRECTV battle; NII Holdings lets go of Nextel Brazil: Shares in Viacom lost ground for the week ended March 22 amid the looming possibility of a blackout on DIRECTV. Elsewhere, NII Holdings' stock plummeted after the company announced a sale that would result in its dissolution.


Economics of TV & Film: KBOX week 11: 'Captain Marvel' soars in its second week: The domestic box office enjoyed a second week of growth on the shoulders of "Captain Marvel." Total week 11 box office rose 9.7% from $189.2 million in 2018 to $207.5 million in 2019.

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