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Foxconn offers $27B for Toshiba's chip biz; LeEco calls off Vizio deal

TOP NEWS

* Taiwan's Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. Ltd., also known as Foxconn Technology Group, offered to submit a bid of nearly ¥3 trillion, or about US$27 billion, for Toshiba Corp.'s computer-chip business, The Wall Street Journal reports, citing sources with knowledge of the details. However, the bidding process is not in its final stages, and bids for the Japanese business could change, the sources stressed.

* Chinese tech and media company LeEco is canceling its US$2 billion deal to purchase U.S. TV manufacturer Vizio Inc., Variety reports, citing a company statement. The two companies said the merger agreement will not proceed "due to regulatory headwinds," confirming earlier reports.

* Indian e-commerce startup Flipkart Internet Pvt. Ltd. secured US$1.4 billion in a funding round led by China's Tencent Holdings Ltd., with participation from Microsoft Corp. and eBay Inc., according to The Wall Street Journal, confirming an earlier report. Flipkart said the new investment gives the company a valuation of US$11.6 billion.

* Meanwhile, as expected, Flipkart is buying eBay's Indian business in exchange for an equity investment. EBay said it will make a cash investment of US$500 million in its eBay.in business, to be owned and operated by Flipkart upon deal completion, which is expected to occur later this year.

JAPAN

* World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. and live sports-streaming service DAZN inked an exclusive multiyear agreement for WWE programming to be available live in Japan. "Raw" and "SmackDown" will be available live and with Japanese commentary, with all three hours of "Raw" and two hours of "SmackDown" available exclusively on DAZN.

* Toshiba Corp. made a short list of bidders for the sale of its semiconductor business, Bloomberg News reports, citing people familiar with the matter. The sources said that in addition to Foxconn, SK Group unit SK Hynix in South Korea is in the remaining pool of bidders, which was reduced from about 10. A tie-up between private equity firm Silver Lake Management and U.S.-based chipmaker Broadcom Corp. is also still included.

* In other Toshiba news, Turkish home and commercial appliance manufacturer Vestel Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS confirmed that it is in talks with the conglomerate to purchase its TV business, Reuters reports.

* Sony Corp.'s wholly owned subsidiary Sony Semiconductor Solutions Corp. will establish a joint venture with Taiwan's E Ink Holdings Inc., which specializes in products that utilize electronic paper displays, as well as related applications and the integration platform for system partners. The paid-in capital is about ¥1.5 billion.

SOUTH KOREA

* Oracle Corp. is revealed to have been in a legal battle with South Korea's National Tax Service, iNews 24 reports. The organization alleged that Oracle evaded taxes through an affiliate in Ireland from 2008 to 2014, and additionally charged the company for 314.7 billion South Korean won in corporate taxes in January 2016. In response, the tech company filed an appeal in the Seoul Administrative Court, and legal procedures are reportedly ongoing. Oracle declined to comment on the matter.

* Kakao Corp. inked a private-academic partnership agreement to establish the Center for Superintelligence, a deep learning-based research center consisting of around 50 experts, and support its operations, Financial News reports. The center will conduct joint research with the South Korean tech company on deep learning technologies, focusing on seven initiatives to start, and develop core artificial intelligence technologies.

* Uber Technologies Inc.'s South Korean unit is preparing to launch its food delivery platform UberEATS locally and has started looking for partner restaurants, Yonhap News Agency reports. A launch date has not yet been confirmed.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* The Chinese city of Tianjin is setting up a US$14.5 billion fund to encourage investments in advanced industries including high-end manufacturing and aerospace, China Money Network reports. The fund will be seeded with US$2.9 billion from the city's fiscal budget and will look to private companies to increase capital, with investors such as CITIC Trust, China Minsheng Investment Group, Tsinghua Holdings Co. Ltd.'s Tsinghua Unigroup, Haier Group Corp. and China Oceanwide Holdings Group already secured.

* China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced a three-year plan for the development of the country's cloud computing industry. The notice sets the target of the valuation of the industry at 430 billion Chinese yuan in 2019, and looks to enhance its application in manufacturing and political usage.

* Mobile operator 3 Hong Kong, a unit of Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong Holdings Ltd., partnered with Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. to upgrade its network to increase capacity and coverage as well as prepare for 5G, Telecompaper reports. The companies tested technologies including small cell installations and network function virtualization.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) stated that the vacant 920-925 MHz spectrum is most suitable for Internet of Things services, the Bangkok Post reports. The NBTC wants to regulate IoT providers to establish standards for sustainable market development.

* In other NBTC news, the Thai regulator met with the Digital Economy Ministry to discuss the nation's telecom policies, Prachachat reports. The NBTC is trying to push for six issues to be on the national agenda, such as spectrum auctions, underground telecom cabling and instant auction revenue submissions.

* Southeast Asian subscription video-on-demand platform iflix and BBC Worldwide Ltd. inked a licensing deal covering more than 150 hours of British Broadcasting Corp. content. The deal will allow iflix, which is set to launch across Sub-Saharan Africa, excluding South Africa, to offer BBC programming such as "Top Gear," "Citizen Khan" and "Luther."

* Southeast Asian ride-sharing company Grab, together with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corp. (MDeC) and the World Bank Group, is offering the Open Traffic platform in Malaysia. According to a report by Free Malaysia Today, the platform provides traffic data from Grab's GPS data streams, and will be used to tackle the country's traffic congestion issues, improve emergency response and enhance town planning.

* Singapore Press Holdings introduced a bilingual portal for small- and medium-sized enterprises to search for relevant news and features published by several newspapers under the media company, The Straits Times reports. The Singapore-based portal also serves as a community for SMEs to connect with other organizations such as government agencies and trade associations.

* The Association of Thai Tourism Marketing revealed that online bookings in the country soared by 133% over the past two years, Kom Chad Leuk reports. The association expects to see growth of 10% this year.

* Indonesia's PT Sigma Cipta Caraka, or Telkomsigma, an IT subsidiary of PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk, will launch a retail public cloud solution in May that includes an offline payment feature, Bisnis reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Australian mobile operator Amaysim Australia Ltd. is acquiring online energy retailer Click Energy. The company said the deal will aid in its goal to become the "remote control" for smart homes.

* Australian government-owned NBN Co. Ltd. has partnered with Nokia Corp. to test the latter's universal NG-PON fiber technology in Nokia's Melbourne facility. The trial managed to reach aggregate broadband speeds of 102 Gbps.

* Special Broadcasting Service (SBS) announced that it is now offering two nationwide HD channels to its audiences in Australia, following the recent launch of the SBS VICELAND channel in HD.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. will spend an additional US$311 million each to buy more programming for their streaming services in India, Mint reports.

* Flipkart is considering another attempt at a grocery business, the Press Trust of India reports, citing CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy.

* Panasonic Corp. is partnering with Tata Group's Tata Elxsi Ltd. to set up an R&D center in Bengaluru, India. According to the Press Trust of India, the facility will develop technologies such as AI and robotics to bolster its appliances business in domestic and global markets.

* Vijay Subramaniam, head of Walt Disney Co.'s Disney Media Networks, resigned from his post to pursue other interests. According to Television Post, Subramaniam will be replaced by Abhishek Maheshwari, vice president and head of consumer products, interactive and corporate strategy for Disney India.

FEATURED NEWS

Charter's 5G future builds on Wi-Fi's past: Charter's CEO envisions the company offering "5G-like Wi-Fi or super Wi-Fi" in the near future. Two wireless engineers weigh in on what this will mean and how it became possible.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: YouTube TV's launch amplifies VSP competition: Yet another player has jumped into the crowded virtual service provider market, attempting to capture audiences who want to pay less but still desire linear channels.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Wil Hathaway 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.