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Grab acquires Uber's Southeast Asia biz; Russia's Sistema eyes RCom assets


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Grab acquires Uber's Southeast Asia biz; Russia's Sistema eyes RCom assets


* GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. confirmed its acquisition of Uber Technologies Inc.'s Southeast Asian operations for an undisclosed sum. The deal will see Grab taking over Uber's operations and assets in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Uber will own a 27.5% stake in Grab. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi will also join Grab's board.

* Russian conglomerate Sistema PJSFC has emerged as the front-runner to buy Indian telco Reliance Communications Ltd.'s remaining assets after submitting an offer of US$1.2 billion, plus debt, The Economic Times (India) reports, citing sources familiar with the developments. Sistema's bid includes the assumption of about US$300 million that RCom owes Sistema, bringing the total offer to US$1.5 billion. The assets include RCom's undersea cables, data centers and domestic enterprise telecom business in India.

* SoftBank Group Corp. is considering a US$1 billion investment in China's Manbang Group, a Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed truck hailing company, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The tech unicorn operates a mobile app that matches truck drivers with shippers.


* KDDI Corp. and Samsung Group's Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. carried out 5G field trials sending a live 4K video feed of sporting action to 5G tablets in a baseball stadium.

* NTT Communications Corp., the network management arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., launched a system that tests the compatibility of its internet of things platform "Things Cloud" with clients' sensors and other devices.

* NEC Corp. and Russian mobile operator MegaFon announced successful field tests of NEC's artificial intelligence technology in MegaFon's live network to boost the efficiency of transport network systems.

* In other SoftBank news, The Economic Times (India) reports that SoftBank, Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings (Pte.) Ltd. and a Morgan Stanley-managed private equity fund are in talks to acquire a one-third stake in India's Financial Information & Network Operations, a payments bank and tech company.


* Iflix Sdn. Bhd. secured rights to South Korean TV series "Grand Prince" and is now streaming the show on its platform for free to its Asian subscribers. The series will also be made available in all Sub-Saharan African markets starting April 8.

* Naver Corp. and Kakao Ventures Fund, a venture capital owned by Kakao Corp., made a joint investment of 1.5 billion South Korean won in IoT startup Brunt, which develops IoT-powered smart home technologies and devices, The Korea Economic Daily reports.

* Kakao Corp. is set to monetize its taxi-hailing Kakao Taxi app by introducing some paid options of priority booking as early as Mar. 28, The Asia Economy Daily reports. Details of the additional service fee are yet to be confirmed as the company is still engaged in final negotiations with stakeholders.

* The South Korean Ministry of Science and ICT is starting a pilot to evaluate the quality of pay television services such as IPTV, cable television and satellite television for the first time to help users make an informed choice and promote competition, ET News reports. After the pilot, the quality assessment will become a regular process from 2019 and results will be shared with the public.

* Samsung Electronics might be developing an over-the-air wireless charging technology according to a 2016 patent that was recently published by the World Intellectual Property Organization, ZDNet Korea reports, citing Phone Arena. The patent reportedly shows that the technology charges devices as long as they remain in the area with signals, even when the user is walking around and the device is in the pocket.


* Microsoft Corp. and Adobe Systems Inc. extended their global partnership to China. The expansion enables the global availability of Adobe Experience Cloud, which will run on Microsoft Azure operated by 21Vianet Group Inc., a carrier-neutral cloud provider.

* Xu Yi, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Inc. for greater China from 2012 to 2016, joined Beijing-based Taihe Music Group as its CEO, Pe Daily reports.

* Givemefive, a Beijing-based film and TV series production company, received more than 100 million Chinese yuan through a series B financing round, the company announced at Weibo Corp. Givemefive is the producer of "Day and Night," which Netflix Inc. bought.

* Beijing-based cloud service provider Qingyuan OS raised 50 million Chinese yuan in series A financing round, 36kr reports. Qingyuan's clients include governments and state-owned companies, including State Grid.


* The board of Dish TV India Ltd. in its March 26 meeting approved the issuance of 857,785,642 fully paid up equity shares of Dish TV of 1 Indian rupee each according to the terms of the merger, which was completed last week. The share exchange ratio is approximately 2.01832925 new equity shares of Dish TV for every one equity share of Videocon d2h. The board also approved the issuance of new global depositary receipts to holders of American depositary shares of Videocon.

* Microsoft Corp. formally opened the Microsoft Garage in Hyderabad, India, which is a platform for Microsoft employees to "explore ideas and build prototypes." Meanwhile, Microsoft India is planning to hire 2,500 people and establish a fourth building for the Microsoft India Development Centre in Hyderabad to accommodate the new staff, The Hindu reports, citing Anil Bhansali, corporate vice president, cloud and enterprise and managing director of Microsoft India (R&D) Pvt Ltd.

* Xiaomi Inc. will invest up to 70 billion Indian rupees in about 100 Indian startups in the next five years to bolster its hardware and software ecosystem, The Hindu reports, citing Manu Kumar Jain, managing director and vice president of Xiaomi India.

* India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and opposition Indian National Congress are trading allegations that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official mobile app was sending personal user data to a third party without user permission, Reuters reports. Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party denied the accusations and said the data was being used only for analytics to provide the "most contextual content."


* Bridge Alliance, a Singapore-headquartered mobile operator alliance, appointed Ong Geok Chwee as its new CEO. Ong has more than 20 years of experience in the information and communications technology industry.

* Grab's Thailand unit announced plans to expand its GrabFood business following the integration of rival platform Uber Eats. Grab's Thailand unit also urged Uber riders and drivers to switch to Grab by Apr. 8, when Uber will officially be deactivated throughout Southeast Asia.

* Jack Ma, CEO of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., will visit Thailand next month to unveil plans for an Alibaba logistics center, the CLMVT Smart Digital Hub, in the Eastern Economic Corridor, Post Today reports. Ma is also expected to reveal further details of Alibaba's plans to support farmers and small and medium-sized enterprises in Thailand through e-commerce tutoring and partnerships.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service Public Co. Ltd. launched the AIS Pocket WiFi rental set, a new roaming innovation which gives users unlimited 4G mobile data at speeds of up to 1GB in 10 countries, including Japan, Australia and the U.S., Manager reports.


* Sky Network Television Ltd. CEO John Fellet plans to retire within the next 12 months. Fellet agreed to help in the search for his replacement and to serve as CEO until a successor has been selected. He will also remain on the New Zealand-based company's board until the transition has been completed.

* Over 30 high-profile women from the Australian media and entertainment industry, including Tina Arena, Deborah Mailman, Sarah Blasko and Danielle Cormack, are leading a national organization called Now Australia to tackle sexual harassment, abuse and assault in Australian workplaces, The Guardian (U.K.) reports.


The Week Ahead: The Mobile Carriers Show to tackle 5G, network security: The Mobile Carriers Show, a conference focused on regional and rural mobile services, kicks off in Las Vegas this week, exploring a range of top issues in the telecommunications industry, including next-generation 5G technology and security.


Broadcast Investor: Top 25 markets lead in demographic, ad revenue per TVHH analysis: Top 25 markets, especially in Texas as well as those in the Southwest and Southeastern states, are expected to grow ad revenue by a higher rate, backed by expected growth in key demographic metrics.

Economics of Networks: The Sports Report: The DVR-proof nature of televised sports incentivize national sports networks like ESPN to pay leagues like the NBA and NFL an exorbitant amount of money to broadcast games and keep them away from competitors like FOX Sports 1.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, 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.

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