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CBS eyes Sony Pictures; Indonesia rejects Google's tax settlement

TOP NEWS

* CBS Corp. is interested in Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures division, sources in Tokyo told the New York Post. While Sony was reportedly considering selling the business, it was not clear if it wanted to sell all the movie and TV assets, or just some of them. The sources claimed that CBS CEO Leslie Moonves went to Japan to push the deal, but a company representative said Moonves has not traveled there recently.

* The Indonesian government rejected an undisclosed settlement offered by Google Inc. in an ongoing tax dispute as insufficient, Reuters reports. The country's tax office now wants to see the Alphabet Inc. unit's books so it can calculate the taxes the company owes. If Google accepts those findings, it would avoid court proceedings but must pay the taxes owed along with a fine equivalent to 150% of the total.

* India may soon apply its "Google tax" to other tech giants that provide online services in the country, including IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc. and Netflix Inc., The Economic Times (India) reports, citing people familiar with the matter. As the government expands the scope of the tax levied on advertising income, cloud computing companies and content providers may be required to pay an equalization levy on revenue.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* The governments of South Korea, the U.S. and Japan, along with mobile companies, launched the 28 GHz Initiative, a consortium to make the frequency standard for 5G mobile networks, ET News reports. The 28 GHz spectrum was previously rejected as a standard during the World Radiocommunication Conference, as China, the Middle East and some European countries are already using it for satellite communications.

JAPAN

* Nintendo's stock has plunged 11%, including a 7% drop on Dec. 19, since its smartphone game "Super Mario Run" was released on Apple's iOS last week, according to CNN. Investors were disappointed by mediocre reviews on the U.S. App Store after high expectations.

* Sony Pictures Television Inc. is developing plans to remake classic TV sitcoms such as "The Jeffersons," "All in the Family" and "Good Times" as miniseries, according to Variety. Norman Lear, producer of the original sitcoms, said discussions include redoing the shows with today's stars. Sony Pictures Television, a unit of Sony Pictures Entertainment, is under the umbrella of Japan's Sony Corp.

* Japan's information technology market has become a "special focus" for India's IT firms, Kyodo News reports, citing India's leading industry lobby group. The interest has led India's National Association of Software and Services Companies to commission a Nomura Research Institute study on Japan's IT requirements.

SOUTH KOREA

* Following several weeks of discussions, Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. appears likely to add LG Chem Ltd. as a smartphone battery supplier, IT Chosun reports. Samsung previously used batteries from Samsung SDI and China's Amperex Technology Ltd. in the now-discontinued Galaxy Note 7. The Samsung Group unit said the move was to diversify suppliers but refused to comment further, as nothing was confirmed.

* South Korean internet giant Naver Corp. partnered with local financial group Mirae Asset to launch a venture fund of 100 billion South Korean won, Yonhap News Agency reports. The fund will reportedly be used to invest in startups focusing on artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, virtual reality and augmented reality.

* Chinese smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s premium phone P9 is selling below the company's expectations in South Korea, E Today reports. Launched in November, the P9 reportedly sells only 100 devices daily, much lower than daily sales of Huawei's mid-priced models BeY and H Phone.

CHINA

* Dalian Wanda Group Co. Ltd. entered a bid for Spanish sports program distributor Imagina Media Audiovisual S.L., which owns global broadcast rights for Spanish soccer league La Liga, Reuters reports. The company is competing with nine others for the stake, including Chinese Citic Private Capital and Liberty Media Corp. from the U.S.

* China's Riverside Investment Group is joining with U.S. theme parks group Six Flags Entertainment Corp. to build a Hurricane Harbor Water Park adjacent to its US$4.6 billion Six Flags Zhejiang park on the coast of Hangzhou Bay, Variety reports. Both parks are expected to open in 2019.

* Chinese mobile operating systems company Thunder Software Technology Co. Ltd. is acquiring Finnish automotive software firm Rightware for €64 million, Reuters reports. Under the deal, Rightware will remain an independent company with its current management after the acquisition, which is expected to close in early 2017.

* Eye-tracking features developed by Swedish technology firm Tobii AB have been integrated into Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.'s Honor Magic smartphone, Di Digital reports. The Honor Magic will be launched exclusively in the Chinese market after Dec. 23.

* Chinese retailer GOME Electrical Appliances Holding Ltd. is breaking into the smartphone market by launching its first device in the first quarter of 2017, Sina reports. Supporting both Android and its self-developed TEE operation system, GOME said the phone emphasizes information security with fingerprint matching and retinal scanning.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Philippine telco giant PLDT Inc. is spending 2 billion Philippine pesos for a three-year deployment of hybrid fiber technologies that can deliver high-speed broadband service through regular phone lines, the Manila Standard reports. The deployment follows the successful trials of two advanced hybrid fiber technologies, one by South Korea's KT Corp. called GiGa Wire, and the other by Huawei Technologies called G.fast.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. subsidiary Sanook Online changed its name to Tencent (Thailand) in preparation for the launch of a new digital content platform incorporating news, entertainment and digital marketing services, Prachachat reports.

* Singapore-based 2C2P, a pan-Asian payments service provider, received US$8 million in Series D funding from unnamed investors in Europe and Asia, The Nation reports. Aung Kyaw Moe, CEO and founder of 2C2P, said the funds will be used to pursue small-scale e-commerce clients in Southeast Asian markets beyond Thailand in 2017.

* Uber Technologies Inc. and Indonesian taxi operator PT Express Transindo Utama Tbk are collaborating on ride-sharing and vehicle financing, Detik reports. The partnership enables Express drivers to take orders from Uber's app, while Uber drivers can participate in Express' installment program to purchase vehicles.

* Thailand's Ministry of Defense reported that its website was briefly knocked offline by a group of hackers targeting government servers in protest against the country's newly amended Computer Crime Act, Prachachat reports. A spokesperson for the Army Cyber Center, a new military agency tasked with protecting the Thai monarchy from harmful online content, said the hackers are mainly operating from abroad.

* Ericsson AB partnered with Universiti Teknologi Malaysia to develop a 5G innovation center in Malaysia, Utusan reports. The center will be used to conduct research, trade and information exchanges related to 5G implementation.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* National Australia Bank Ltd.'s legal proceedings against Google regarding the incorrect distribution of personal details of 60,000 of its customers via email were delayed after the search engine giant successfully applied to push back a court hearing in the Northern District of California by two weeks.

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone NZ inked a multimillion-dollar telecommunications-as-a-service contract with shared services organization healthAlliance, which signed on behalf of four Northern Region district health boards in New Zealand, Reseller News reports. The deal covers mobile, voice and data services for the Auckland, Waitemata, Northland and Counties Manukau DHBs.

* Vodafone Hutchison Australia is partnering with Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.-owned Dimension Data and California-based cybersecurity company FireEye to build its first cyber defense and response center, ZDNet reports. Vodafone Hutchison Australia is a joint venture entity owned by CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. unit Hutchison Telecommunications Australia and Vodafone Group Plc.

* New Zealand telco Chorus appointed Kate McKenzie, former COO of Telstra, as its new chief executive, the Australian Associated Press reports. McKenzie will take up her new role in February 2017.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Amazon.com's Indian unit launched Amazon Pay Balance, an online wallet service aimed at increasing cashless orders in the country. According to Mint, Amazon Pay Balance can be credited with money using internet banking, and can be used to pay for multiple purchases. It will also enable faster refunds from Amazon.

* Pakistani cinemas have lifted their self-imposed ban on Indian movies, The Express Tribune reports. Theaters across the country are again exhibiting Bollywood films.

FEATURED NEWS

VR Focus: Market leaders reach high, differ on strategies: Samsung, Sony and HTC have each taken a different approach with their VR headset releases over the past year, to varying degrees of success.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Research & Analysis: 2016 US mobile banking landscape: With 2016 coming to a close, the U.S. Mobile Banking Landscape report analyzes key trends that have emerged in mobile banking, including regional variations and developments in user behavior and in the capabilities of bank apps.

Joji Sakurai, Sunny Um, Emily Lai, 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.