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WeWork takeover; Bharti Infratel/Indus Towers merger update; Huawei procurement


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WeWork takeover; Bharti Infratel/Indus Towers merger update; Huawei procurement


* SoftBank Group Corp. is in advanced discussions to take control of coworking giant WeWork Cos. Inc. in a deal that could be announced as soon as Oct. 22, reports, citing people familiar with the matter. Following the transaction, the Japanese conglomerate will own 70% or more of the workspace provider, with SoftBank COO Marcelo Claure likely to be appointed as chairman of WeWork.

* Bharti Infratel Ltd. said it is not possible to complete its merger with Indus Towers Ltd. by the Oct. 24 deadline due to pending government approvals needed to close the deal. As a result, Bharti Infratel's board authorized a committee of directors to explore and evaluate possible options to "secure the best interests of the company and its shareholders" and forward its recommendations to the board on or before Oct. 24.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. increased procurement from South Korea and Japan to reduce the risk of relying on a "single supplier or country," a source close to the company told S&P Global Market Intelligence. Huawei confirmed it reduced procurement from U.S. suppliers. According to data obtained from the company, components procured from South Korea amounted to about 15.2% of the total in 2018, while the portion procured from Japan was about 9.4%.


* Japan's Finance Ministry plans to close a tax loophole that allowed SoftBank Group to avoid paying corporate taxes. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the company paid no tax in Japan in 2018 by doing a series of complex transactions to create large-scale losses by shifting assets within the group and negated profits made in other sectors with the intent to reduce the tax bill.

* Panasonic Corp.'s Koriyama plant, which was forced to shut down due to flooding caused by Typhoon Hagibis, aims to resume operations within two months, The Asahi Shimbun reports. The facility manufactures materials used in circuit boards for automobiles, mobile devices and other products.


* Germany-based publishing giant Axel Springer SE plans to sell shares in its news app Upday to Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., DNV Online reports. Upday is a preinstalled app on a range of Samsung devices.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. plans to install in-building equipment for 5G services in about 1,000 buildings by the end of 2019, ZDNet Korea reports. The equipment is designed to improve the speed of telecom services by using four antennas to process more data compared to the existing two-antenna indoor equipment.

* Fox Corp. is remaking the South Korean TV drama "Live" for the U.S., The Dong-a Ilbo reports. Studio Dragon Corp., the production company behind the original series, will take part in the remake as co-producer.

* LG U+ successfully demonstrated a trial of an artificial intelligence-powered smart drone for security patrol purposes using 5G networks, Chosun Biz reports. The company used a drone embedded with voice recognition and real-time, full HD resolution video transfer technologies and controlled it via voice command using a smartphone app.


* ZTE Corp. obtained approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission to issue a maximum of 686.8 million new A shares through private placement. The issuance will take place within the next six months.

* China Telecom Corp. Ltd., China Mobile Ltd. and China Unicom have opened a total of 86,000 5G base stations nationwide, including in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hangzhou, China News Service reports. It is expected that over 130,000 5G base stations will be opened by the end of 2019.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s social media and messaging app WeChat updated its external link policies to ban links that require users to invite clicks from contacts. According to TechNode, WeChat will also prohibit companies from making unauthorized edits to user avatar and nicknames. It will also prohibit operations that require users to open or download another app to obtain rewards and prizes.

* George Zhao, president of Huawei-owned smartphone brand Honor, said the company is launching a 5G smartphone in November, NetEase reports. The handset will support both non-stand-alone and stand-alone networks, which means it will be compatible with all network operators within China.

* China's National Radio and Television Administration expects to introduce a code of practice for the interactive video industry by 2019-end, 21st Century Business Herald reports. Baidu Inc.'s online video platform iQIYI Inc., Tencent Video, Youku Tudou Inc. and Mango TV have all pledged to abide by the code.


* Apple Inc. began selling locally assembled iPhone XR handsets in India, Reuters reports. The smartphones are assembled at Foxconn Technology Co. Ltd.'s India factory, allowing Apple to avoid high levies on the import of fully built devices and meet local sourcing norms for opening its own retail stores in the country.

* YuppTV Inc., an over-the-top service that provides South Asian content, entered into a partnership with Indian telecom operator BSNL to offer video and broadband technology services to mobile and fixed-line users.


* PT Go-Jek Indonesia CEO Nadiem Makarim will resign from his post immediately to join the Indonesian cabinet, Bloomberg News reports, citing Makarim's statement to reporters. The ride-hailing app said President Andre Soelistyo and co-founder Kevin Aluwi will take the helm as co-CEOs.

* Singaporean telecom operators M1 Ltd. and StarHub Ltd. are expected to collaborate in a network-sharing deal ahead of the 5G network rollout, Singapore Business Review reports. StarHub has been planning to sign the deal since 2017, but the plan was postponed due to market conditions and changes in M1's ownership structure.

* The merger of Thailand state-owned telecom operators TOT PCL and CAT Telecom PCL hit a snag after the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society rejected their initial proposals, The Bangkok Insight reports. The ministry also ordered the telcos to draw up 5G auction proposals by Oct. 30.

* Facebook Inc. launched its Facebook Gaming app in Thailand, the fourth country in the world to get the service, Prachachat reports.

* Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Ltd. joined Singtel's VIA mobile payment alliance, an interoperable mobile payment network in the Asia-Pacific region. In the first quarter of 2020, customers of the Singapore-based lender will be able to make QR code payments at merchant partners on VIA's network using the OCBC Pay Anyone app.


* Adam Lang stepped down as CEO of Macquarie Media Ltd., effective Oct. 25. According to Chairman Russell Tate, Lang's role is expected to become redundant under a new organizational structure resulting from the purchase of Macquarie Media by Nine Entertainment Co. Holdings Ltd.

* United Networks Ltd. completed its acquisition of Broadland Group, comprising Broadland Solutions Pty. Ltd. and Broadland Victoria Pty. Ltd. Pursuant to the deal's closing terms, Broadland Solutions Managing Director Victor Tsaccounis will join United Networks to replace outgoing CEO Nicholas Ghattas.


Data Dispatch Asia-Pacific: China's new tech board stocks drop after stellar opening: Fewer than a fifth of companies listed on the Science and Technology Innovation Board, or Star Market, were trading above their first-day closing prices by mid-October, S&P Global Market Intelligence data shows.


Economics of TV & Film: Pennywise profit won't match Joker's clowning achievement but is still no joke: "IT Chapter Two" hit theaters in early September and got the fall box office season off to a strong start. The film has grossed more than $200 million at the box office and we estimate that it will end up with US$211.9 million in domestic gross.


Hikvision reports increase in Q3 profits, warns loss of overseas clients: The Chinese surveillance camera maker Hikvision reported a total operating income of 15.92 billion yuan in the third quarter of 2019, up from 12.93 billion yuan in the year-ago period.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard 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.