* SoftBank Group Corp. signed a nonbinding agreement with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia to develop a $200 billion, 200,000-MW solar power project in Saudi Arabia, according to several news reports. The project is expected to generate 200,000 MW of electricity by 2030. During a March 27 news conference in New York, SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son reportedly described the project as "the world's biggest solar power generation." The solar installations will be built at various locations throughout Saudi Arabia.
* NXP Semiconductors NV sold its 40% stake in China-based chip-design joint venture Suzhou ASEN Semiconductors Co. Ltd. to its venture partner Advanced Semiconductor Engineering Inc. for US$127 million. The move would lower the semiconductor manufacturer's exposure to the Chinese market and reduce some competition concerns. China's commerce ministry is the only regulator out of a total of nine that has not yet approved QUALCOMM Inc.'s $44 billion pending acquisition of NXP.
* Vodafone Hutchison Australia unveiled Vodafone TV, its first-ever streaming media device. Vodafone also sealed a partnership with Netflix Inc. that will see customers receive a 12-month standard subscription to the streaming service when they sign up to its higher speed National Broadband Network plans.
* Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific Inc. appointed Vikram Sharma vice president of Cartoon Network Enterprises. Sharma is tasked with driving sales across the whole region for Turner's branded toys, apparel, home entertainment, publishing and lifestyle products.
* Dentsu Inc. announced a partnership with entertainment company Tsubasa Co. Ltd. under which Dentsu will have the exclusive distribution, merchandising and advertising rights to the upcoming animated TV series "Captain Tsubasa" for Asia and Oceania. The series will air on TV Tokyo beginning April.
* Sony Corp. is planning to raise employees' annual pay by 5% in the fiscal year beginning April, Jiji Press reports.
* In the wake of the Facebook Inc.–Cambridge Analytica LLC data breach scandal, the Korea Communications Commission started an investigation into how Naver Corp. and Kakao Corp. collect users' voice call and text message data, JoongAng Ilbo reports.
* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. began the construction of its second memory chip production line in Xi'an, China, with a US$7 billion investment to meet growing 3D V-NAND demands, Digital Daily reports.
* Kakao will integrate its artificial intelligence-powered speaker Kakao Mini with the set-top boxes and over-the-top service of local cable operator D'Live in the second half of the year, ET News reports.
* Naver joined forces with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to establish an AI research lab called NAVER-HKUST AI Lab, ZDNet Korea reports. The lab, which launches April 12, was established to strengthen cooperation with AI groups in China and Hong Kong, as well as to attract global talents.
CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN
* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. is no longer interested in becoming a controlling shareholder in the anime video streaming platform Acfun, according to Caijing.
* Chunghwa Telecom and PChome Online will form a joint venture capital in Taiwan, UDN reports. With an initial fund of NT$400 million, the JV capital will seek candidates in IT-related areas, including fintech, e-commerce and AI.
* China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said it will set standards for self-serving cars cars. The ministry recently partnered with major auto makers to establish a research institute for connected cars to help with the standards.
INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA
* India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology issued a notice to Facebook seeking details of whether the personal data of Indian voters and users has been compromised by Cambridge Analytica or other entities. According to Press Trust of India, it also sought details on whether the data has been used to manipulate the Indian electoral process.
* Sistema Shyam TeleServices Ltd. sold its 80.3 million shares in Reliance Communications Ltd., reducing its total holding in RCom to about 7%, The Economic Times reports, citing a regulatory filing.
* Amazon.com Inc. is ramping up its Prime Music offerings in India by striking content deals with music labels Lahari Music, Muzik 247 and the Indian Performing Right Society to add their repertoire and catalog to Amazon Prime Music, Inc42 reports.
* SoftBank Group is brokering a deal to merge the businesses of ride-sharing companies Ola and Uber Technologies Inc. in India, wherein homegrown Ola will take over Uber India, a person aware of the matter told Mint.
* Tata Teleservices Ltd. said it has not made any offer to sell its stake in ATC Telecom Infrastructure Pvt. Ltd. and any report on a deal being struck is "premature."
* India's telecom department has given telcos, internet service providers and corporations six months to vacate the spectrum they hold in the 3300-3400 Mhz band, which will be used for 5G services, The Economic Times reports.
* Singapore Press Holdings and mm2 Asia Ltd. entered into an agreement to form a joint venture company, which will engage in digital editorial and video content creation under the AsiaOne brand.
* LINE TV's Thailand unit struck a new partnership with Thunder TV PLC, wherein the latter will invest 250 million Thai baht in producing series, games and augmented reality content for LINE TV, Manager reports.
* Thai home shopping channel TV Direct PLC, in a bid to drive sales revenue, is teaming up with digital TV channel Spring News to co-produce the digital TV Spring News Channel 19 under a four-year contract, Bangkok Post reports.
* Indonesian managed services provider Telkomtelstra plans to build more data centers to expand its cloud business in the country, The Jakarta Post reports.
* Malaysia-based telco Digi.com is set to be readmitted into the Shariah-compliant securities list in Malaysia by April, The Star reports. Digi was removed from the listing in November 2017 due to its debt-to-asset ratio exceeding the threshold.
AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND
* Verizon Communications Inc.'s Oath Inc. is taking full control of Yahoo7 by acquiring Seven West Media Ltd.'s 50% stake in their joint venture. The transaction, which is expected to be completed in August, will see CEO Ed Harrison, CFO Penny Diamantakiou, chief technology officer Paul Russell and director of product Mark Robinson departing Yahoo7.
* SKY Network Television Ltd. has become the exclusive home to HBO content across all platforms in New Zealand, following a deal between the companies.
* Uber Technologies is set to launch its carpooling option UberPOOL in Sydney on April 3, News.com.au reports.
The Daily Dose will not appear tomorrow as well as April 2 due to the Good Friday and Easter Monday holidays in Hong Kong. The next Dose will be sent out April 3. Please visit our website for the latest news updates, or check us out at https://twitter.com/SPGMarketIntel.
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Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, Kevin Osmond and Patrick Tibke 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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