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No arrest for Samsung heir; Indonesia threatens Google in tax dispute

Fintech Intelligence Digital Newsletter: April 2021

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Episode 14: A Quantum of Technology


No arrest for Samsung heir; Indonesia threatens Google in tax dispute

TOP NEWS

* The Seoul Central District Court rejected an arrest warrant being sought for Samsung Group executive and heir apparent Lee Jae-yong for alleged bribery, embezzlement and perjury in connection with South Korea's presidential corruption scandal, saying it was hard to acknowledge the reason, necessity and appropriateness of an arrest, Yonhap News Agency reports. The decision was made while Lee was detained at a Seoul facility after a four-hour hearing.

* Indonesia threatened to take legal action against Google Inc. if it does not hand over a transaction report for a government probe into the tech giant's unpaid taxes. The Alphabet Inc. unit's transaction data, which contains the company's advertisement and server contracts, would be used to determine the amount Google must pay in the country. The Indonesian tax directorate expects Google to submit the data by the end of January.

JAPAN

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Japanese unit started the Amazon Launchpad service in the country to develop and support startups by offering online shopping for their products. The service was first launched in the U.S. in 2015, and is now available in eight countries with 1,200 participating companies, according to The Nikkei.

* Toshiba Corp. is mulling the sale of a minority stake in its core semiconductor business to U.S. partner Western Digital Corp. to ease the impact of a huge impairment loss in its U.S. nuclear power unit, The Asahi Shimbun reports. The company is also considering a spinoff of its memory chip business.

* Japanese film company Toho Co. Ltd. said its hit anime movie "Your Name" will be released in the U.S. and Canada on April 7, The Mainichi Shimbun reports.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. decided to reuse 4.3 million units of its discontinued Galaxy Note 7 smartphone in an eco-friendly manner instead of scrapping them, ET News reports, citing a company source. The South Korean tech giant seems to have changed its plan after identifying the cause of the battery explosions, which is expected to be announced Jan. 23.

* South Korean mobile game company Netmarble Games is looking to expand its share of the gaming market in North America and Europe by seeking more mergers and acquisitions as well as intellectual property rights, Reuters reports, citing Netmarble founder Bang Jun-hyuk.

* South Korean smartphone maker Pantech Inc. plans to establish a joint venture in Southeast Asia in partnership with a local telco in the first quarter, Financial News reports. The plan is reportedly near its final stage, and the company has high expectations for the region's growing demand for mid- to low-priced smartphones.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* An online shopping platform owned by Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Group launched Bandott, an Android TV 6.0 digital set-top box integrated with video content services, DigiTimes reports. The box is currently only available in Taiwan, and supports 4K video content from iQiyi, CatchPlay, Netflix Inc. and MyVideo. Electronics manufacturer Foxconn is formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd.

* Chinese internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. inked an exclusive partnership with U.S. tech website Mashable for content development, Tencent News reports. Content from Mashable will be made available to Chinese readers through Tencent's news portal.

* Chinese movie companies Huahua Media and Shanghai Film Group invested in the Hollywood action film "XXX: Return of Xander Cage" through Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures Corp. and Revolution Studios LLC, Variety reports. The size of the investment was not disclosed, but the Chinese companies will assist as China marketing partners for the film.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Mytel, a Myanmar-based telco that recently received a license to operate, will use the Asia-Africa-Europe-1 submarine cable and infrastructure belonging to state-owned MECtel to beat competitors on service charges, the Myanmar Times reports. Mytel will also use the infrastructure to extend coverage in rural areas and offer 2G, 3G and 4G services.

* Singaporean telco M1 Ltd. and China's Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. conducted a 5G network trial that attained speeds of 35 Gbps, according to an M1 press release. The demonstration was said to be the highest transmission speed attained in Singapore.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) called on pay TV operator TrueVisions to consider cutting subscription fees on all its packages affected by the company's loss of six HBO channels, Prachachat reports. The regulator said TrueVisions' replacement channels will cost significantly less than Time Warner Inc.-owned Home Box Office Inc.'s premium entertainment channels, and that this reduction in costs should be passed on to customers.

* Meanwhile, all six HBO channels dropped by TrueVisions will resume broadcasting in Thailand in February via a new, unnamed local partner, The Nation reports. HBO Asia also announced that it will offer an online, free-view service for its original series "Halfworlds," for Thai viewers who are unable to watch the show.

* In other NBTC news, the Thai regulator announced a 30-day deadline for the board to finalize details of a government subsidy program to help reduce costs for digital TV operators, Manager reports. The subsidy, which was approved by Thailand's ruling junta in December 2016, allocates 800 million Thai baht annually to digital TV operators for a three-year period.

* Indonesian telco PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk will launch its third satellite, Telkom-3S, in February, The Jakarta Post reports. The launch of the US$199.7 million satellite, which will be managed by French company Thales Alenia Space, will support Telkom's voice and data services.

* Members of the lower house of the Philippine Congress approved a bill that extends the franchise of TV broadcaster GMA Network for another 25 years, according to BusinessMirror. Like the bill renewing Smart Communications' 25-year franchise, it will be submitted to the Senate for deliberations.

* Vads Lyfe Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Telekom Malaysia, secured a memorandum of understanding with Malaysia Airport (Sepang) Sdn Bhd for integrated telecommunications, ICT and smart services infrastructure projects, Sinar Harian reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* New Zealand TV broadcaster Prime, owned by SKY Network Television Ltd., entered into an agreement with BBC Worldwide Ltd.'s Australia and New Zealand unit to air a package of the British Broadcasting Corp.'s factual and documentary titles on its free-to-air channel in New Zealand, World Screen reports.

* Cricket Australia is hoping to get a A$300 million TV rights deal, or A$60 million per year, on its next contract after dominating Seven Network Ltd.-owned Channel 7's Australian Open in early ratings with the Big Bash, The Courier Mail reports. Network Ten's Channel 10 paid A$100 million for five-year cricket broadcasting rights.

* Melbourne-based online bookmaker SportsBet struck a deal to become the betting sponsor of Seven West Media Ltd.'s coverage of the Australian Football League for the 2017 season, after rival CrownBet decided not to take the package, The Australian Financial Review reports. CrownBet has already signed a deal to be the AFL's official wagering partner for almost A$10 million per year.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* India will consider Apple Inc.'s request for incentives with an "open mind," Reuters reports, citing Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad. This comes shortly after it was reported that the Indian government was set to reject the tech giant's request for tax concessions to start manufacturing iPhones in the country.

* Amazon.com Inc. and Indian e-commerce company Flipkart withdrew from talks to buy Dubai-based e-commerce platform Souq.com over disagreements on price. In 2016, Amazon was reported to be in negotiations to acquire Souq.com for about US$1 billion. With the breakdown in talks, the Dubai company is looking for other potential investors.

* Global private equity firm Warburg Pincus acquired a 14% equity stake in PVR Ltd., India's largest movie theater operator, for 8.2 billion Indian rupees, The Economic Times (India) reports. The stake is being acquired from affiliates of private equity firm Multiples Alternate Asset Management, which will remain a long-term investor with a 14% equity stake as well.

* Multisystem operator DEN Networks Ltd. is close to launching an over-the-top service, Television Post reports. The OTT platform will have around 130 live channels, 2,500 movie titles and 10,000 hours of video-on-demand content.

* Amazon Prime Video's India service is acquiring all four seasons of the Zodiak Kids animated show "Horrid Henry." According to TBI Vision, Amazon also secured rights to other series from Banijay Group's Zodiak Kids Studios including "Extreme Football," "Street Football" and "Sally Bollywood."

FEATURED NEWS

Iflix arrives in Pakistan; Disney inks streaming deal with Star India: In this biweekly Asia video spotlight feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence provides a roundup of news related to over-the-top, video-on-demand and other online video initiatives in different Asian markets.

Tech Time: AT&T, Qualcomm unit, Ericsson seal 5G trials partnership: In this feature, S&P Global Market Intelligence presents a bi-weekly global roundup of the latest developments in technology.

The Daily Dose Europe: EE faces £2.7M fine; Microsoft buys Sweden's Simplygon: British Telecom unit EE will pay a £2.7 million fine for incorrectly charging customers on customer service calls, while Microsoft bought Swedish 3D data optimization solutions developer Simplygon.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, 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.