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Google fees to hurt China's low-cost handset makers; SoftBank secures US$9B loan

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Google fees to hurt China's low-cost handset makers; SoftBank secures US$9B loan

TOP NEWS

* Google LLC's plan to implement a new paid licensing agreement for smartphones and tablets sold in Europe will likely hurt Asian low-cost handset vendors which use the free Android operating system, the Nikkei Asian Review reports. While smartphone makers could pass on the licensing fees to customers by raising prices, the publication noted that the move would "prove tricky" for Chinese companies such as Xiaomi Corp. and OPPO Electronics Corp. which have gained traction in Europe with their low-cost devices. The new licensing agreement is in line with the Alphabet Inc. unit's strategy to comply with the European Commission's decision on Android.

* SoftBank Group Corp. secured commitments for a loan of about US$9 billion for its SoftBank Vision Fund from banks, Bloomberg News reports, citing people close to the matter. The banks reportedly comprise arrangers and underwriters of the upcoming public float of the Japanese conglomerate's telecom unit SoftBank Corp. The IPO's top underwriters, Nomura Holdings Inc. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc., are reportedly finalizing the loan terms.

JAPAN

* NTT Docomo Inc. will launch what it claims as the world's thinnest and lightest mobile phone in Japan on November, The Nikkei reports. The 5.3-mm-thick, 47-gram phone is aimed at smartphone users seeking a compact device.

* SoftBank Vision Fund intends to increase its investment in the insurance sector, a fund executive told Reuters.

* Japanese low-cost mobile virtual network operators appeared before the country's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications panel meeting to demand for major telcos to reduce the fees they charge MVNOs for renting their lines, according to Jiji Press.

* NTT Data Intramart Corp. is launching a digital transformation platform that incorporates the internet of things, AI and robotic process automation under the brand name intra-mart BIORA.

SOUTH KOREA

* KT Corp. said that it completed developing Genie Pay, a mobile payment service based on voice authentication technologies, iNews 24 reports. The biometric authentication system uses the telco's GiGA Genie FIDO platform for speaker recognition and is planned to be commercialized within the year.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. announced that it has started wafer production using its 7LPP process node with extreme ultraviolet lithography technology. The company said the new technology delivers up to a 40% increase in area efficiency and up to 50% lower power consumption.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. formed a partnership to establish Hong Kong's biggest mobile payment activation program to date, which will cover the real estate giant's 23 major malls in the city. The initiative will also be implemented in the real estate giant's cellphone subsidiary, SmarTone Telecommunications Holdings Ltd. as well as across its YATA department stores and supermarkets.

* Chinese private equity firm Summitview Capital allied with the city government of Xuzhou in eastern China to raise a new 3 billion-yuan fund intended to boost the city's sensors and internet-of-things markets, China Money Network reports.

* Beijing-based technology media platform 36Kr Media established a 1 billion yuan venture capital fund which aims to support early and mid-stage companies in the field of consumption upgrade, high-tech, medical and cultural, China Money Network reports.

* U.S. tech startup CNEX Labs Inc. and its co-founder Yiren Ronnie Huang are accusing Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. of using a lawsuit to steal intellectual property and help China achieve technological dominance over the U.S. In its lawsuit, Huawei accused CNEX and Huang, a former employee at Huawei, of stealing its technology and demanded information about CNEX's work.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Netflix Inc. is exploring offering lower pricing models for the Indian market to grow its user base in the country, Bloomberg News reports. The company may also add shows for India in languages other than English and Hindi.

* Huawei Technologies will invest over US$100 million as part of a three-year plan to increase its smartphone market share in India, according to The Economic Times (India). In order to support anticipated growth, Huawei is also partnering with Taiwanese contract manufacturer Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., or Foxconn to make smartphones in India.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Netflix said that beginning Oct. 19, Indonesian members will be able to access a fully localized Bahasa Indonesia user interface with Bahasa Indonesia subtitles. The streaming giant also announced video data plan package deals with local operators including XL Axiata, Bolt, PT Hutchison 3 Indonesia and PT Smartfren Telecom Tbk.

* Malaysian telecommunications infrastructure services company edotco Group Sdn. Bhd. and Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo Corp. struck a collaboration agreement to advance the capabilities of their connectivity offerings and solutions, Digital News Asia reports.

* PT Tower Bersama Infrastructure Tbk, an Indonesian telecom tower company, closed its TBIG Bond III Phase II offering, which has a total issuance size of 628 billion rupiah at a fixed interest rate of 8.50% for a tenor of 370 days. Some of the proceeds will be used to repay the company's existing loans.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will not appeal a court ruling that allows Total Access Communication PCL to continue operating on the 850 MHz frequency, the Bangkok Post reports. The NBTC also plans to extend Dtac's use of 20 MHz of bandwidth on the 1800 MHz range until Dec. 15.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Former Australian Broadcasting Corp. managing director Michelle Guthrie is taking the national broadcaster to court over her dismissal halfway through her five-year term earlier this year, The Australian reports.

* Amazon.com Inc. launched its ad-free and on-demand music streaming service, Prime Music, for Prime members in Australia.

FEATURED NEWS

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FEATURED RESEARCH

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Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, 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.