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Samsung to invest US$8B in China chip plant; Tencent to invest US$10B in Europe


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Samsung to invest US$8B in China chip plant; Tencent to invest US$10B in Europe

S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of recent investment deals and updates in the Asia-Pacific technology, media and communications sector.

Top news

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. will invest an additional US$8 billion at its chip factory in China to boost the production of NAND flash memory chips, Reuters reports, citing Chinese media. The South Korean company's investment comes at a time the memory market is expected to rebound in 2020 due to rising demand for 5G devices and networks.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. is planning a US$10 billion investment in Europe in 2020, with one-third of that amount in Germany, Telecompaper reports, citing Handelsblatt's interview with Shiwei Li, president of Tencent's cloud business. According to Li, Germany is "the most important market outside of China" for Tencent. The company has 20 employees at its European headquarters in Frankfurt, with the number expected to increase significantly in the next few years.

* SoftBank Group Corp.'s negotiations to obtain US$3 billion from Japanese lenders as part of its rescue package for embattled coworking startup WeWork Cos. Inc. have stalled, Reuters reports, citing two unnamed sources.

Capital investments

* SoftBank Vision Fund 2 held discussions to invest about US$150 million in U.S. home healthcare company Honor, reports, citing people familiar with the matter.

* Bharti Telecom Ltd. is seeking government approval for the capital infusion of 49 billion Indian rupees from foreign investors, including Singapore-based mobile carrier Singtel, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing PTI. The investment will enhance overseas shareholding in Bharti Telecom to over 50%, making it a foreign-owned entity.

* Australian cybersecurity company Secure Code Warrior Pty. Ltd. secured US$47.6 million from its series B funding round, which was led by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Other investors in the round include ForgePoint Capital, Cisco Investments, AirTree Ventures Pty. Ltd. and Paladin Capital Group. The company will use the funds to support its global expansion and product innovation.

* Tencent led a series C funding round for Little Bear Rental, a provider of office facilities to major tech companies including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc., KrASIA reports, citing 36Kr. Sources estimate the funding to be at least 50 million yuan, based on the 2 billion yuan valuation of Little Bear Rental and Tencent's 2.5% stake in the company.

* QUALCOMM Inc. and Intel Corp. participated in the 1 billion yuan series B funding round of Huaqin, a Shanghai-based smart device manufacturer. Huaqin plans to use the funding proceeds to build a platform that will help clients develop 5G-compatible products.

Startup funding

* Indonesian telco PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, through its subsidiary MDI Ventures, launched a venture capital fund with Korea's KB Financial Group Inc., CNBC Indonesia reports. The Centauri Fund will invest in startups involved in areas including financial technology, software-as-a-service and big data.

* Indonesian education technology startup Ruangguru announced that it secured 2.1 trillion rupiah in its series C financing round led by U.S. private equity firms General Atlantic LLC and GGV Capital.

Other funding

* The Korean Ministry of Science and ICT will invest over 5 trillion won in science and technology, and ICT research and development in 2020, Digital Daily reported. According to its 2020 R&D project plan, 60% of the ministry's total R&D budget will be spent on these sectors.

* Tony Chen, founder and CEO of Chinese handset-maker OPPO, said the company is allocating US$7 billion for research and development over the next three years. OPPO plans to develop core technologies in hardware, software and system in addition to 5G/6G, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, big data and other next-generation technologies.

* Indian digital wallet Paytm Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd.'s parent One97 Communications Ltd. is set to allocate 2.6 million shares to investors, Reuters reports, citing a company filing. A source said the allotment is part of the company's latest US$1 billion fundraising round.

* NTT Docomo Ventures Inc. invested an undisclosed sum in San Francisco-based Vcognition Technologies, a provider of solutions for automated checkout stores.

* NTT Docomo Ventures also invested an undisclosed sum in Trend Express Inc., which provides Japanese companies with marketing support for the Chinese market. Under the tie-up, the services of Trend Express and NTT Group will be linked. The two companies will also jointly create new services.

* Lenovo Group Ltd. reached a partnership with Tianjin Tianbao Infrastructure Co. Ltd. to build a 1.8 billion yuan innovation park.

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