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SoftBank in talks to sell Flipkart stake to Walmart; Trump working to save ZTE

TOP NEWS

* SoftBank Group Corp. could settle on a deal with Walmart Inc. to sell its stake in Indian e-commerce startup Flipkart Online Services Pvt. Ltd. in the next few days at a pre-determined price and time, people close to the development told The Times of India. "SoftBank and Walmart have agreed on a price and a final decision is expected in 7 to 10 days," the sources said. Walmart may take Flipkart public in as early as four years of the closing of its planned deal. The U.S. retail giant agreed to buy a 77% stake in Flipkart for US$16 billion.

* In a tweet May 13, U.S. President Donald Trump said he is working with China's President Xi Jinping to "give massive Chinese phone company, ZTE Corp., a way to get back into business, fast." The company also said process and human-resource problems caused its violation of a settlement agreement resolving sanctions-related charges, the Wall Street Journal reports.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.'s Ant Financial Services Group is expected to complete a fundraising of at least US$10 billion in the next few days, having been able to secure Carlyle Group LP and the Canada Pension Plan as first-time investors, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg News.

JAPAN

* Sharp Corp. President Tai Jeng-wu will remain in charge through the fiscal year ending March 2020, The Nikkei reports. Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., known as Foxconn Technology Group, sent Tai to lead Sharp after acquiring the ailing Japanese tech giant in 2016. Sharp has since enjoyed a turnaround, reporting in April its first net profit in four years.

* Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. reported a record net profit and operating revenue for the fiscal year ending March 31. NTT posted a 13.7% jump in consolidated net income to ¥909.70 billion, while sales rose 3.6% to ¥11.800 trillion largely on the back of increased mobile subscriptions.

* NTT Docomo plans to name current Executive Vice President Hiroshi Tsujigami as its new representative director, replacing Toshiki Nakayama. The mobile arm of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone also proposed Yasuo Sakamoto, Kouji Furukawa, Hiroshi Nakamura and Hozumi Tamura as new executive vice presidents. The changes are subject to approval at a June shareholders and board of directors meeting.

* NEC Corp. will provide control units for 5G base station equipment to NTT Docomo. Under the agreement, NEC aims to develop technology that allows existing communication equipment to be fully compatible with 5G for services that DoCoMo plans to roll out in 2020.

SOUTH KOREA

* KT Corp. completed building a nationwide LTE network in Rwanda, ZD Net Korea reports. The South Korean telco formed a joint venture, KT Rwanda Networks Ltd., with the Rwandan government in 2013 to work on the network establishment.

* South Korea's Regulatory Reform Committee under the Prime Minister passed the "universal mobile plan," which is designed to give users 200 minutes of voice calls and 1GB of data at a price in the 20,000 South Korean won range, Money Today reports. The Ministry of Science and ICT plans to propose a relevant bill to the National Assembly as early as in June.

* LG CNS Co. Ltd. launched a new blockchain platform Monachain, which focuses on providing users with digital authentication, digital community currency, and digital supply chain management services, the Dong-a Ilbo reports. In the meantime, the LG Corp. unit aims to strengthen its blockchain business by setting up a group of around 50 blackchain experts under the chief technology officer and increasing the number of staff to more than two-fold within this year.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* China's Xiaomi Inc. said that three of its smart home products are now compatible with Google Inc.'s Google Assistant, deepening its presence in the U.S. market as part of its global expansion plans.

* Coolpad Group Ltd. sued three Xiaomi subsidiaries for patent infringement, ahead of Xiaomi's planned IPO.

* China Animation Comic Game Group reached a partnership with the Shenzhen Culture Assets and Equity Exchange to set up a specific trading board for animation and comics in the bourse. The duo will also work together to introduce specific loan vehicles for cultural businesses, develop businesses in the artwork related sector, and facilitate the financing and investments of cultural activities oriented businesses.

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. partnered with JD.com Inc. to launch smart TVs for audience to shop with artificial voice control, Caijing reports. The television set will enable audience to shop with the remote-control, voice control or mobile app when they are watching commercials. Tencent will be the sole provider on the pre-installed over-the-top content and the sets will be manufactured by Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., Koninklijke Philips NV, Toshiba Corp., Sichuan Changhong Electric Co. Ltd. and TCL Corp.

* Didi Chuxing Technology Co. Ltd. will suspend its carpooling service for a week of rectification after a 21-year-old was killed after taking a ride with the company, Xinhua News reports. The company says it will also do background checks with all the drivers to prevent substitution drivers.

* China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology signed a partnership agreement with the Anhui province to further develop artificial audio intelligence.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Google India Pvt. Ltd. plans to move the high court against the Bengaluru Income Tax Appellate Tribunal's ruling that requires the Alphabet Inc.-owned Google unit to pay royalty tax for its Ad-Words program, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Facebook Inc. responded to the Indian government's second notice concerning the Cambridge Analytica LLC data controversy, restating its commitment to safeguarding people's information, as well as "protecting the integrity of the electoral process in India," The Economic Times (India) reports, citing Facebook's emailed response to the government.

* Reliance Jio is urging India's telecom ministry to impose "severe action" and levy "strictest of penalties" against rival Bharti Airtel Ltd. for a license breach on the latest Apple Watch service, which could reportedly lead to a security issue, The Economic Times (India) reports.

* Direct-to-home operator Tata Sky Ltd. will cut channels Russia Today, NT5 and NewsX HD from its platforms, effective May 29, Television Post reports.

* Amazon.com Inc.'s Amazon Prime Video India bought exclusive digital rights to Telugu blockbuster "Rangasthalam," which is set to premiere on the streaming service shortly after its theatrical release on May 14, Rapid TV News reports. Amazon Prime Video also unveiled its first original web series in India's regional space, called "GangStars," a Telugu crime drama series, Television Post reports.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Singapore-based on-demand video streaming company Hooq Digital Pte. Ltd. partnered with several production houses such as MD Pictures, Starvision, Rapi Films, and TBS Films, business news Bisnis.com reports. The partnership includes listing the movies produced by the four production houses in Hooq within 120 days after the movies are shown in the cinemas.

* Singapore Press Holdings appointed Glen Gary Francis as its chief technology officer and Gaurav Sachdeva as its chief product officer. While Francis was a former chief information officer of Global Logistics Properties, Sachdeva was formerly the head of product for growth hacking and innovation and chief-of-staff for products at ride-hailing company GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd.

* Indonesian media company PT First Media Tbk purchased additional 45 million shares at the price of 1,135 Indonesian rupiah per share in technology company PT Multipolar Technology Tbk, according to the company's disclosure in the Indonesian Stock Exchange.

* Grab's Thailand unit will launch its ride hailing and food delivery services in the coastal city of Hua Hin on May 17, Prachachat reports. Grab is currently available in 16 provinces in Thailand and aims to launch in four more by the end of this year.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service Public Co. Ltd. named Yongsit Rojsrikul as its new chief enterprise business officer. The position is a new addition to AIS' management structure, though previously AIS President Hui Weng Cheong filled the role in an acting capacity.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australian mobile advertising startup Unlockd Media Pty Ltd. was granted an interim injunction by the English High Court, preventing Google from removing the company's app from Google's app store and disabling AdMob-generated advertising content, The Australian reports.

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. is facing a new problem after ZTE has been shortlisted to build its new 5G network, channelnews reports. The Australian telco previously announced that they stopped selling ZTE-manufactured devices.

* A deal to have Sydney and Brisbane races aired on the Seven Network Ltd.'s 7Flix free-to-air channel 52 weeks a year, is "80% home," The Courier Mail (Australia) reports, citing an unnamed source.

FEATURED NEWS

Upfronts 2018: NBC beefs up content targeting 18-to-49 demo: Hospital drama "New Amsterdam" will be launched out of "This Is Us," while the sixth season of "Brooklyn-Nine-Nine" is scheduled to join in mid-season.

Content discovery tools gain leverage through voice control, machine learning: Speakers at TV Connect in London discussed the challenges and opportunities associated with bringing voice control to the table, including new ways for users to interact with search, discovery and recommendation tools.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Global Multichannel: Vodafone nears convergent ambition in Europe: As Vodafone bids to acquire Liberty Global's cable assets in four markets, one territory may prove problematic.

Technology: Can you hear it? Developments in next-generation audio: Just as video resolution and compression have continued to improve, the same is true for audio. Traditional 5.1-channel surround sound is being replaced by immersive audio based on object-oriented audio and high order ambisonics, or HOA.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard 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. Links are current as of publication time, and we are not responsible if those links are unavailable later.