* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. acquired U.S.-based network services provider TeleWorld Solutions Inc. for an undisclosed sum. Paul Kyungwhoon Cheun, head of networks business at Samsung Electronics, said the transaction would allow the company to improve its 4G and 5G networks.
* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. created a fourth business group for its cloud computing and artificial intelligence divisions, following the company's decision to implement changes to its organizational structure ahead of what is expected to be a challenging year, TechNode reports, citing financial news outlet Yicai. The new business group will be led by Hou Jinlong, who was appointed president for the cloud computing and AI business group.
* Thailand greenlit the proposed merger of state-owned wireless carriers CAT Telecom PCL and TOT PCL, Reuters reports. The resulting entity from the merger, to be called National Telecom, will participate in the 5G spectrum auctions in February. The transaction is expected to be completed in the next six months.
* Microsoft Corp. warned that an estimated 13.9 million computers in Japan still using Windows 7 could become more susceptible to viruses and hacking as the company ends its free support to the operating system, The Japan Times reports. With the end of support, users need to upgrade to Windows 10 or other operating systems.
* Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s Super Nintendo World, a new theme park at Universal Studios Japan in Osaka, is opening this summer ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The park will feature wearable wrist bands called "Power Up Band" that will sync with a smartphone app and give users an interactive experience.
* For the second year in a row, Sony Interactive Entertainment Inc. will not participate in the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, as the event is not aligned with the company's focus, IT Media News reports. The Sony Corp. unit is preparing to launch the PlayStation 5 before the holiday season this year.
* Naver Webtoon Corp. is acquiring local artificial intelligence startup V.DO, which previously received an investment from NAVER Corp.'s accelerator program D2SF, News 1 reports. The company hopes to strengthen its technological capabilities to enhance reader experience through the acquisition.
* KT Corp. and Samsung Medical Center have begun trials of 5G-powered medical solutions designed to enhance healthcare, The Korea Herald reports. Several applications of using 5G network throughout the hospital complex include sending biopsy images at faster speeds and observing surgeries remotely via video streaming.
* South Korea's Ministry of Interior and Safety said an LTE-based disaster emergency network will be rolled out nationwide by the end of the year, ZDNet Korea reports. It will serve as a single network for emergency response teams to facilitate faster communication.
GREATER CHINA (MAINLAND CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN MARKETS)
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. will be seeking the best technology for the rollout of next-generation wireless networks in the country and suggested those opposed to certain brands recommend an acceptable alternative, Bloomberg News reports. The comments came in response to a question about the U.K.'s potential relationship with Huawei.
* TuanChe Ltd. closed the acquisition of cloud software developer Longye International Ltd. for 200 million yuan in the form of cash and company securities. TuanChe entered into a purchase agreement with Longye in June 2019 to help improve the automotive marketplace's operations, product offerings, and sales and marketing capabilities.
* Weibo Corp. invested an undisclosed sum in Ymatou, a Chinese cross-border e-commerce platform, TechNode reports. Ymatou will use the proceeds to explore short video and live-streaming initiatives.
* Momo Inc., a Beijing-based social search and instant messaging app, launched a music product called Zhiyin, Tencent News reports. Zhiyin allows singers to accept direct payments from an audience or to earn money by managing singers on their accounts.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. and UV Asset Reconstruction Co. emerged as the top bidders for the assets of Reliance Communications Ltd., The Economic Times (India) reports, citing the Press Trust of India. Jio made a bid of 47 billion Indian rupees for the mobile tower and fiber assets of Reliance Infratel Ltd., a subsidiary of RCom. Meanwhile, UVARC placed bids of about 160 billion rupees for the spectrum and real estate assets, as well as the enterprise and data center businesses held in RCom and Reliance Telecom Ltd.
* Amazon.com Inc. unveiled an Echo speaker specifically designed for the Indian market, Forbes reports. The Echo Input Portable Smart Speaker Edition addresses portability, the most requested feature of customers in India.
* The Vietnamese government plans to launch 5G services this year, Post Today reports. Vingroup JSC inked a deal with QUALCOMM Inc. and Fujitsu Ltd. in 2019 to produce 5G networks in Vietnam.
* BEC World PCL, operator of Thailand's Channel 3, reached a partnership with Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeTV, Krungthep Turakij reports. Under the agreement, WeTV will be the exclusive online distributor of Channel 3 programs and will buy the copyrights to three of its TV series, according to Techweb.
* Enigma Group Holdings Ltd. applied for a digital full banking license in Singapore through a consortium, The Straits Times reports. The consortium, led by U.K.-based Enigma Global Holdings, includes local cybersecurity company Qrypt Technologies, app developer 2359 Media Pte Ltd. and financial technology startup Blockchain Worx Pte. Ltd.
* Malaysia will hand out a total of 450 million ringgit to nearly half of its citizens in a drive to increase digital transactions and widen the adoption of online payments in the country, the Nikkei Asian Review reports. The government will distribute the funds through three e-wallet companies: Grab Holdings Inc., Axiata Group Bhd.'s Boost and Touch n' Go.
* Japanese advertising company Hakuhodo Inc. opened a new agency in Ho Chi Minh City called Hakuhodo Digital Vietnam. The new office offers digital marketing services.
* Telkomsel Mitra Inovasi participated in the series B1 funding round of Roambee Corp., a U.S startup that provides logistics services and an internet of things-based asset monitoring system, Kontan reports. Telkomsel Mitra Inovasi is the venture capital arm of Indonesia-based wireless carrier PT Telekomunikasi Selular.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Netflix Inc. secured global streaming rights to the family film "Go Karts" from Canada-based Aqute Media. The rights do not cover Australia and New Zealand, where Roadshow Films Pty. Ltd. will release the movie theatrically Jan. 16 under the title "GO!"
Conference Chatter: CES 2020: From cars to content to foldable phones, CES 2020 did not disappoint: The Consumer Technology Association's annual trade show had plenty of fireworks for its 2020 event, including Sony's first car prototype, foldable phones and a splashy new mobile video platform from one of the biggest names in entertainment.
Technology: Virtual reality tries 8K on for size at CES: It may be fair to raise an eyebrow at the Pimax 8KX, which is expected to sell for $1,299 later this year, but the headset lays out a distinctly more immersive future for consumer virtual reality.
Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.
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