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Huawei rejects security concerns; Qualcomm, Apple in China sales spat

TOP NEWS

* Ken Hu Houkun, the rotating chairman of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., pushed back against allegations by the U.S. and other countries of security breaches and asked for evidence against claims that the Chinese tech giant is a security risk, South China Morning Post reports. "Despite the efforts to create fear about Huawei and to use politics to interfere with industry growth, we’re proud to say that our customers continue to trust us,” he said. Houkun added that excluding Huawei from 5G networks would slow down innovation.

* QUALCOMM Inc. is crying foul after Apple Inc. continued to sell older iPhones in China despite a preliminary court order to ban sales of the devices in the country, Reuters reported Dec. 17. The Fuzhou Intermediate People's Court in China earlier found that Apple had infringed on two Qualcomm patents related to adjusting the size and appearance of photographs and managing applications using a touch-screen device.

JAPAN

* NTT DATA Corp. division NTT Data Services completed the acquisition of Sierra Systems Group Inc. The deal expands Plano, Texas-based NTT Data Services' footprint in Canada.

* Online marketplace Mercari Inc. will dissolve and liquidate its U.K. units Mercari Europe Ltd. and Merpay Ltd. by 2020, The Nikkei reports. The decision was reportedly taken due to a negative outcome in the U.K. market, creating a loss of about ¥1 billion. The company will allocate its resources to more profitable regions, including the U.S. market, while seeking re-entry into the European market.

* Trading company Itochu Corp. formed a business and capital alliance with Tokyo-based digital marketing company FreakOut Holdings inc., to launch a data-based marketing business. Itochu will target smartphone users to expand its customer base.

* In other FreakOut Holdings news, the advertising company acquired Playwire, an internet video company that provides free and paid video players for independent video publishers.

* NTT Communications Corp., the telecom services unit of Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., will partner with U.S.-based RagingWire Data Centers Inc. to develop California Silicon Valley 1 Data Center in Santa Clara, Calif.

* Internet information services provider Excite Japan Co. Ltd. appointed Shinichi Saijo as its new president.

SOUTH KOREA

* The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT will provide mobile carriers with advisory services on security verification of 5G equipment via its 5G Security Technology Advisory Committee. The committee consists of security experts from industry and academia, Digital Times reports.

* Kakao Corp.'s KakaoPage Corp. acquired a 68.39% stake in Indonesian content provider Neobazar Inc. to enter the Southeast Asian market, Financial News reports.

* NAVER Corp. launched the Smart Editor ONE, an integrated content production tool that can be used in all its platforms, including blogs, Knowledge iN and Smart Store, ZDNet Korea reports. The new tool is optimized for a mobile environment and comes with video and image editing functions.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* The Czech Republic's National Cyber and Information Security Agency has warned against the use of both software and hardware from Chinese telecom equipment makers such as Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corp. over cybersecurity concerns.

* Apple released a new update to its iOS 12 to address a court injunction in China which banned the sale of some of the older iPhones in the country, Caijing reports. Apple recommended all users in China to upgrade to the latest version of the iOS to avoid functions which have been ruled as infringing Qualcomm's patents.

* Bilibili Inc. will release over 20 locally produced animations, including adaptions of popular online literature from other platforms, Tencent News reports.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. debuted its first smart speaker, which can consolidate all content from the tech giants' different applications, Securities Times reports.

* The government in China's Tianjin region introduced a set of rules to regulate the big data industry, covering areas including data management, data sharing, data transparency and application, Tianjin Daily reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* ANI Technologies Pvt. Ltd.'s Ola entered into a strategic partnership with Vogo Automotive Private Ltd., a scooter-sharing startup. Under terms of the partnership, Ola will invest in 100,000 scooters on the Vogo platform, worth US$100 million. Ola CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said the investment will "help build a smart multi-modal network for first-last mile connectivity in the country."

* QYOU Media Inc., a Canada-based digital content provider, joined with Bharti Airtel Ltd., a satellite and digital television provider in India, to launch an original digital content channel on Airtel's platform in Hindi. The network, called The Q India, shows local content and regional shows intended for an Indian audience, ages 20 to 30.

* Xiaomi Corp. unit Xiaomi Technology India Pvt. Ltd. may invite more of its smartphone component suppliers to invest in India, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Big Synergy Media Ltd., a television production house owned by Reliance - ADA Group Ltd., appointed Rajiv Bakshi as its CEO, Indian Television reports. In his new role, Bakshi will drive strategic partnerships and develop original content. He was previously the chief marketing officer at Intex Technologies (India) Ltd.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Indonesia's telco tower company PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure Tbk acquired a 51% interest of PT Visi Telekomunikasi Infrastruktur Tbk, according to a filing in the Indonesian Stock Exchange. PT Tower Bersama paid 35.46 billion Indonesian rupiah to acquire its stake.

* Thailand approved a new Data Privacy Act, which outlines how personal information may be shared and used online, Prachachat reports. According to the report, a new department will be established to oversee matters of online data privacy.

* The Indonesian Ministry of Communication and Informatics did not revoke the 2.3 GHz radio bandwidth frequency permit owned by PT First Media Tbk and its subsidiary PT Internux, Kompas reports. The ministry said the company has until Dec. 31 to pay the first installment of the proposed payment plan.

* Thai telco Total Access Communication PCL expects to spend 18 billion baht for upgrading its network in 2019, RYT9 reports. The company reportedly spent between 16 billion baht and 20 billion baht for network upgrades in 2018.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission opened the Center for Operational Policing for Thailand Against Intellectual Property Violations and Crimes on the Internet Suppression, Matichon reports. The center will enable police to tackle intellectual property crimes online within three days.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Southern Cross Cable Network and its shareholders, Spark New Zealand Ltd., Singtel and Verizon Business, entered into an agreement with Telstra Corp. Ltd. to sell a 25% stake of SCCN and substantial capacity on both the existing network and the new Southern Cross NEXT subsea cable.

* In other Telstra news, the Australian telco said it received early access to the 3.6 GHz spectrum, allowing the telco to switch on 5G at sites in Melbourne and Sydney.

FEATURED NEWS

The Daily Dose: CBS denies Moonves $120M severance; T-Mobile-Sprint deal cleared by US security: CBS denied Les Moonves $120 million in severance compensation after completing an investigation that determined there were grounds for his termination, while T-Mobile and Sprint's merger received U.S. national security clearance.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: US Q3'18 survey report: The shift to watching more VOD: U.S. consumers are increasingly watching more video-on-demand and one of the unforeseen consequences may be less time spent watching video.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Emily Lai, Myungran Ha, Ed Eduardo and Wil Hathaway 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.