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Apple teams with Foxconn on expansion; Tencent invests in mapping firm

TOP NEWS

* Apple Inc. is partnering with its iPhone manufacturer Foxconn, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., to expand in Southeast Asia, United Daily News reports. Apple is reportedly making major investments while Taiwan-based Foxconn handles the implementation. Apple will launch two research and development centers in 2017 in Indonesia and Shenzhen, China.

* Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd., China-based digital mapping company NavInfo and Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC Private Ltd. agreed to purchase a 10% stake in German digital mapping company HERE, in a deal aimed at developing self-driving cars, Reuters reports. German carmakers Audi, BMW and Daimler will reduce their combined ownership of HERE by 10%. The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2017. Financial details were not disclosed.

* The South Korean government, together with the country's major telcos, plans to invest 1 trillion South Korean won, or about US$816 million, in the commercialization of 5G technologies by 2020, Financial News reports. The government aims to establish a trial 5G network in the Winter Olympics host city of Pyeongchang and downtown Seoul by the second half of 2017, and assign 5G frequency bands by 2019.

JAPAN

* Toshiba Corp. said it may book a loss of several billion dollars from its acquisition of U.S. nuclear power plant operator CB&I Stone & Webster Inc. Toshiba, already reeling from an accounting scandal, saw its share price tumble 12% over the potential writeoff, which stems from an asset valuation dispute, according to Reuters.

* Japan's Communications Ministry plans to set up 30,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the nation by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to The Japan Times. Most access points will be free to the public, the report said, quoting a ministry official.

* Nintendo plans to release about three smartphone games per year from fiscal 2017, building on a collaboration with Japanese mobile portal DeNA Co. Ltd., The Nikkei reports. Nintendo's game "Super Mario Run," for Apple's iOS platform, has reached 50 million downloads.

SOUTH KOREA

* South Korean conglomerate LG Corp. and telco KT Corp. announced that they will withdraw from the Federation of Korean Industries in the aftermath of the alleged corruption scandals involving now-suspended President Park Geun-hye and her confidante, E Daily reports. Samsung Group and SK Group Inc. are likely to follow suit, according to the report.

* The South Korean Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning approved cable TV operator CJ HelloVision's Cable Convergence Solution, which integrates the transmission technologies of cable TV and IPTV to provide cable TV broadcasting through internet networks, ET News reports. The CJ Group unit is reportedly poised to make all its services IP-based.

* South Korean terrestrial TV broadcaster Korean Broadcasting System started a high-definition digital multimedia broadcasting service for its DMB channel 1TV, Yonhap News Agency reports. DMB users can watch clearer 1TV media content without paying extra fees.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. denied that it is seeking an IPO for its video-streaming unit iQiyi, following reports that said a market debut was expected to raise about US$1 billion, Variety reports. Baidu declared on its microblog that there is no timetable for iQiyi to launch an IPO and it will continue to run independently.

* Hong Kong entertainment mogul Albert Yeung Sau-shing bought a 31.12% stake of local movie producer and cinema operator See Corp. Ltd. for about HK$190 million. Yeung proposed a mandatory conditional cash offer of 21.5 Hong Kong cents per share; a 1.4% premium on its previous closing price.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* The Directorate General of Tax of the Republic of Indonesia affirmed that in January 2017, Google Inc. will be fined 150% of its tax payable if the company does not settle its tax obligation in the country, Detik reports. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics said blocking the Alphabet Inc. unit's services would be a last resort.

* Myanmar's Directorate of Telecommunications is expecting to launch a 1,800-MHz mobile internet network in the country in March 2017, Asia News Network reports. Mobile operators are reportedly seeking to secure 4G licenses before then.

* The board of Thai state-owned telco CAT Telecom approved the proposed merger of the company's internet data center and submarine cable businesses by mid-2017, the Bangkok Post reports. CAT must now submit a final proposal to the State Enterprises Policy Commission for approval, which would lead to the formation of a new subsidiary known as the National Gateway Data Centre Co.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will revoke the broadcasting license of Dhammakaya TV on Jan. 7, 2017, following the expiration of a 30-day suspension handed down earlier this month, Krungthep Turakij reports. The Dhammakaya Temple remains under investigation for safeguarding a former abbot accused of money laundering, and its media wing now stands accused of violating one broadcasting law and two national security directives.

* Philippine telco PLDT Inc. is still interested in reviving investment talks with broadcasting giant GMA Network Inc., the Philippine Daily Inquirer reports, citing PLDT CEO and Chairman Manuel Pangilinan. While it is "always open" to the idea, Pangilinan said the company is more focused on reversing the trend of declining earnings starting in 2017.

* Thai cable and satellite TV operator TrueVisions will offer six new channels starting Jan. 1, 2017, as a replacement for six HBO channels that TrueVisions will stop broadcasting on that date. Following the launch of the new channels, which include Time Warner Inc.'s Warner TV and Sony Corp.'s Sony Channel, the operator will start airing two more channels in March 2017, including True Films HD 2.

* Indonesian telco tower company PT Profesional Telekomunikasi Indonesia (Protelindo) secured a revolving loan facility agreement of 500 billion Indonesian rupiah from Bank Central Asia, Kontan reports.

* Thailand's chain of 7-Eleven convenience stores launched a home delivery service in partnership with ride-hailing service Grab. The partnership allows 7-Eleven customers to order products online via the store's 7APP and have them delivered by GrabBike, Grab's motorcycle courier service, for cash payment on arrival.

* Malaysian telco company Axiata Group Bhd. announced the resignation of CFO Chari Thandalam Veeravalli Thirumala, Telecompaper reports. The group financial controller, Yap Wai Yip, will serve as acting CFO effective Jan. 1, 2017.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* The Australian government switched on 15 mobile base stations in time for Christmas, Telecompaper reports. The activation of base stations in various regions of Australia is part of the first round of the government's Mobile Black Spot Program, which utilizes A$100 million to enhance mobile coverage in the country.

* SKY Network Television Ltd.'s SKY Sport announced that it is an ASB Classic broadcaster for New Zealand until 2021. The five-year extension covers exclusive rights to the men's and women's tennis tournaments and all match-day activities. The contract takes effect Jan. 2, 2017.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Amazon.com Inc. struck a deal with Indian home video outfit Ultra Media & Entertainment to secure more Bollywood content for Amazon India's Prime Video service, which launched earlier this month. The deal will allow Prime Video subscribers in India to watch about 300 Ultra titles.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. subsidiary 9Apps partnered with Paris-based digital game publisher Gameloft to distribute its most popular games in India through the 9Apps platform, First Post reports.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. awarded a contract worth more than US$120 million to Ericsson AB for 2G/3G/4G network modernization and expansion for Delhi, The Economic Times of India reports.

FEATURED NEWS

Former Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman made $93M in fiscal 2016: The fiscal 2016 pay packages of Viacom execs are among those highlighted in the latest installment of The Pay Check.

The week in OTT: Amazon gets more Bollywood content; Disney-ABC, Snap team up: Amazon.com struck a deal with Indian home video outfit Ultra Media & Entertainment to secure more Bollywood content for Amazon India's Prime Video service, while Disney-ABC Television Group will produce original episodic shows for Snapchat.

M&A Replay: AMC closes Carmike deal; Tribune selling Gracenote: S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a wrap-up of U.S. media and communications deal announcements and completions from Dec. 19 to Dec. 23.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Global TV Everywhere overview: Western Europe: TV Everywhere services in Western Europe scored an average of 71% for the number of key service features they now support.

Economics of Internet: Mobile/OTT devices dwarf desktop at ABC and NBC in Q3 minutes viewed; desktop stalls: According to comScore Video Metrix data, non-desktop (mobile and OTT devices) viewing was significant for Comcast Corp.'s NBC and Walt Disney Co.'s ABC, accounting for approximately 78% and 75% of overall online video viewing in the third quarter, respectively.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Patrick Tibke and Ed Eduard 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.