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Samsung considers new battery supplier; Grab pledges US$700M to Indonesia

TOP NEWS

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is in talks with Japan's Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. about a battery supply deal for its upcoming Galaxy S8 smartphone, The Nikkei reports. Murata could possibly replace Amperex Technology Ltd. as one of Samsung's two suppliers, depending on how the discussions proceed. This comes after Samsung said faulty batteries caused the fires that led to the Note 7 being scrapped.

* Singapore-based ride-hailing app Grab will invest US$700 million in Indonesia over four years as part of its partnership with the country's government, Kompas reports. From that amount, Grab will put US$100 million into Indonesian startups to support the government's "1,000 Startups" initiative.

* Sony Corp. reported an 84% drop in profit in the third quarter of fiscal 2016 due to a US$962 million impairment charge in its movie business. Sony said its quarterly profit came to ¥19.6 billion, down from ¥120 billion the previous year.

PAN-ASIAN NEWS

* Gogo Inc. named Patrick Carroll regional president in the Asia-Pacific. In this role, Carroll will oversee Gogo's airline accounts, certification and operations in the region from Shanghai.

JAPAN

* Japan Communications Inc. announced that SoftBank Group Corp. agreed to lease it networks for its low-cost smartphone services. The agreement follows an earlier spat in which the MVNO won access to mobile giant NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s network. Japan Communications said it had secured Japanese government support for its complaint that SoftBank was refusing to lease phone lines. Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. owns NTT DoCoMo.

* Japanese messaging app operator LINE Corp. launched a new workplace communication app called Line Works. The service offers business chat, file sharing and other features, replacing the business communication tool Works Mobile that LINE partnered on in October 2016 with Works Mobile Japan Corp.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics is considering building a U.S. plant for its home appliances business, Reuters reports, citing a person with knowledge of the matter. The Samsung Group unit declined to comment on the matter, but said it has already made significant investments in the U.S., such as the infusion of more than US$1 billion into its Texas facility in November 2016.

* In other Samsung Electronics news, the company announced it will expand its mobile pay service beyond its Galaxy devices to all Android-based smartphones in South Korea by launching Samsung Pay Mini. The launch is expected within the first quarter. The Android OS is developed by Alphabet Inc.-owned Google Inc.

* South Korean telco LG Uplus Corp. reported a 2016 full-year operating profit of 746.5 billion South Korean won, representing 18.1% growth year-over-year. The profit resulted from the increase in high-value subscribers for wireless services, and added users for the company's IPTV and Giga broadband services.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Chinese news app Toutiao is acquiring U.S.-based video app Flipagram, Sina News reports. While financial details of the deal were not disclosed, Flipagram was estimated to be valued at more than US$300 million in 2015.

* Apple Inc. is set to launch its mobile payment and digital wallet service in Taiwan, but did not reveal the exact date. Seven Taiwanese banks will support the service following its launch. The banks are Cathay United Bank Co. Ltd., CTBC Bank Co. Ltd., E.SUN Commercial Bank Ltd., Standard Chartered Bank (Taiwan) Ltd., Taipei Fubon Commercial Bank Co. Ltd., Taishin International Bank Co. Ltd. and Union Bank of Taiwan Ltd.

* Uber Technologies Inc. said it will temporarily shut down its service in Taiwan starting Feb. 10, The China Post reports. The move comes after Taiwan's government repeatedly fined the company for what it considers illegal operations there.

* Vodafone Group Plc unit Vodafone España S.A.U. will outsource the maintenance of its fixed and mobile networks to Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., along with a portion of its converged network, Telecompaper reports. If approved by the works council, the deal will commence March 22 and will see about 230 Vodafone employees transferred to Huawei.

* Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Chuxing eliminated an in-app function that encourages users to tip drivers, Sina News reports. While the app update is currently only limited to Shanghai, it shows that the company is taking action against growing complaints over rising costs of Didi services in major Chinese cities since the company acquired rival Uber's China business in August 2016.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) accused pay TV operator TrueVisions of failing to give customers 30 days' notice before cancelling 11 entertainment channels, Krungthep Turakij reports. TrueVisions earlier claimed that customers had been notified of the move in advance, but the NBTC has since received dozens of complaints from customers who said some of the channels had already been switched off as early as May 2016.

* Telco Indosat expressed interest in participating in Indonesia's spectrum auction to boost its internet service speeds, Kompas reports. The auction, which was supposed to take place at the end of 2016, will put 2,100 MHz and 2,300 MHz frequencies on sale.

* Rachel Arenas, the new chairperson of the Philippines' Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, is looking to regulate films that are accessible through the internet before they're available in the country's cinemas, The Philippine Star reports.

* U.S.-based mobile monetization solutions company Digital Turbine Inc. formed a partnership with Axiata Digital, a unit of Malaysian telco operator Axiata Group Bhd. Digital Turbine's carrier billing solution PayTM will be integrated with Axiata's Mobile Internet Fulfillment Exchange platform, allowing content providers to access more than 300 million subscribers in Axiata's Asian markets.

* Thai state enterprise CAT Telecom launched an e-payment gateway service known as Tree Pay, as part of a joint venture with South Korea's SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and Korea Cyber Payment, Krungthep Turakij reports. CAT's revenue from Tree Pay is expected to reduce the company's reliance on government support and help it compete against private sector rivals.

* Thai telco Dtac will invest 450 million Thai baht to 500 million baht in customer rewards schemes this year, an increase from 400 million baht in 2016, Manager reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. restored all of its mobile services in affected areas throughout Australia, shortly after a fire at its Chatswood exchange in Sydney, ABC News reports. The telco is now investigating the source of the fire.

* Australia's Channel 7, a unit of Seven Network Ltd., pulled the plug on "The X Factor Australia," Billboard reports. The singing competition, which once had as many as 4 million viewers, saw its metropolitan viewership drop below 600,000.

* U.S.-based software company Citrix Systems has named Les Williamson as area vice president for Citrix Australia and New Zealand, ChannelLife Australia reports. The former Cisco executive will report to Stanimira Koleva, vice president of Asia-Pacific and Japan.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Reliance Industries Ltd.-owned Indian telco Reliance Jio is set to launch direct-to-home services in March or April, Gizmo Times reports. The report also included leaked pictures of a round set-top box which supposedly connects to fiber or dish, and a remote control that has a mic button, suggesting that there could be voice-controlled features.

* Indian live TV platform dittoTV teamed up with Idea Cellular on the entertainment app Idea Movie Club, the Press Trust of India reports. The free video streaming app offers access to more than 90 live TV channels, music videos, movies and Hollywood, Bollywood and regional TV shows in more than 10 languages.

* As expected, Pakistan ended its ban on movies from India. The Bollywood film "Kaabil" will start showing in Pakistani theaters, followed shortly after by "Raees."

* Motorola will launch its flagship smartphone series Moto Z in Pakistan starting in February, Propakistani reports. There will be three models, with the Moto Z debuting Feb. 17, while the launch dates of the Moto Z Play and Moto M are yet to be announced.

FEATURED NEWS

Vodafone defends India strategy amid pending merger: Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao defended the group's strategy for its Indian operations, insisting Vodafone is "well-positioned" to reap the market's long-term benefits.

Sirius XM focused on driving usage from car to home, mobile, CEO says: Sirius XM Holdings executives noted several upcoming product updates intended to expand the company's reach, including the roll out of Sirius' 360L platform, which combines satellite radio with 4G connectivity and is planned to launch in early 2018.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Broadcast network OTT video catalogs expand in 2016: CBS may still be the only major U.S. broadcast network with a direct-to-consumer OTT subscription offering but 2016 saw ABC, The CW, FOX, and NBC substantially expand their ad-supported OTT catalogs at their primary owned and operated sites.

Data Dispatch: Global long-term rates holding onto postelection surge: Many long-term rates around the world continue to move higher, building on the sharp increases witnessed in the aftermath of the U.S. presidential election.

FEATURED EARNINGS

Facebook CEO points to 'video-first' future across its platform: The company said it was continuing to ramp-up its focus on video in the fourth quarter of 2016 with an eye to long-form content.

Joji Sakurai, Sunny Um, Frances Wang, Patrick Tibke and Ed Eduard 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.