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LeEco founder ordered back to China; RCom to exit debt restructuring


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LeEco founder ordered back to China; RCom to exit debt restructuring


* The China Securities Regulatory Commission issued an order for LeEco Group founder Jia Yueting to return to China before 2017 ends to deal with the financial troubles of his company's debt-saddled, Shenzhen-listed Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp. Beijing, South China Morning Post reports. The CSRC said Jia has yet to show up despite repeated calls from the Chinese regulator.

* Reliance Communications Ltd. announced its exit from the Reserve Bank of India's strategic debt restructuring framework without any equity conversion and loan write-offs for lenders and bondholders. The company expects a reduction of over 85% of its total debt, with its balance debt expected to be down to 60 billion Indian rupees. RCom also announced an equity infusion from its global strategic partners to further reduce debt. The announcement sent RCom's shares soaring almost 40%.

* Google Inc. is planning to open brick-and-mortar stores in India to support the sales of its Pixel smartphones in the country, three people with knowledge of the matter told The Economic Times of India. The rollout may happen in the latter part of 2018. The Alphabet Inc. unit has hired a senior Apple Inc. executive as part of its plan, one of the sources added.

* Star India's video streaming service Hotstar inked a content deal with U.S.-based media company Awesomeness TV to allow hit series from the latter to be available under the Hotstar Premium library, Television Post reports. Star India is a unit of 21st Century Fox Inc., which recently agreed to sell assets including Star India to Walt Disney Co.


* NTT Docomo, the mobile unit of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., announced the launch of its first plan allowing free access to the internet for overseas visitors to Japan. Plan 0 is part of DoCoMo's Welcome SIM series, offering internet access to foreign travelers. Customers qualify by viewing advertisements in their home countries before visiting Japan.

* SoftBank Group Corp. has developed a blockchain system allowing financial institutions to access personal financial data to help them determine creditworthiness, The Nikkei reports. SoftBank plans to commercialize the system by 2019.

* JOLED Inc., a developer of OLED display technology panels used in smartphones, is poised to win a ¥50 billion investment from car parts maker Denso Corp. in a boost to its drive to launch mass production of advanced panels, Kyodo reports. JOLED, an affiliate of Japan Display Inc., this month announced plans to raise ¥100 billion for the production drive by March.

* OLM Inc., the animation studio behind the "Pokemon" TV series, is set to launch an animation studio in Malaysia, Kyodo reports. The studio opens in April and will be the company's first outside Japan.


* The final hearing of the appeal trial of Samsung Group heir Lee Jae-yong, who was sentenced to 5 years in prison over corruption charges, is set to take place Dec. 27, News 1 reports. The verdict is expected to be delivered between mid-January and early February.

* South Korean telcos SK Telecom Co. Ltd. and KT Corp. are sparring over their network cables for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, Yonhap News Agency reports. KT sent an official letter as part of a legal action, asking SK Telecom to immediately remove the optical cables installed inside its cable ducts, whereas SK Telecom argued that the removal was agreed to be done by Dec. 29 for some areas, and that for other areas the cables had been installed with permission from authorities.

* South Korean watchdog Fair Trade Commission has approved the acquisition of South Korea's regional cable network Hanabs Co. Ltd. by cable TV operator CJ Hello Co. Ltd., formerly known as CJ HelloVision, on condition that the company does not seek to increase the cable bill excessively or decrease the number of channels without a good reason until the end of 2019, ET News reports.

* LG Electronics Inc. has turned its deep learning-based artificial intelligence technology into a platform called DeepThinQ 1.0 and distributed it in-house to bolster the development of products and services using the technology, ZDNet Korea reports.

* KT Corp. is setting up a platform for discovering emerging web-comics artists on its KTOON platform in January 2018, Financial News reports.


* Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s WeChat could become the official electronic personal identification system in China under a pilot programme initiated by the government of Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, South China Morning Post reports, citing Xinhua news agency. The trial reportedly will soon cover the entire province and further expand across the country from January 2018.

* Baidu Inc. is suing its former autonomous-driving chief Wang Jing and his startup JingChi for purportedly stealing Baidu's in-house technology, South China Morning Post reports. Baidu also alleges that Wang broke contractual agreements and poached employees from the Chinese search giant for JingChi.

* Qihoo 360 Technology Co. Ltd. announced that it would postpone the repayment of a US$3 billion loan made for its privatization in 2016, Thomson Reuters' Basis Point reports. The internet security company said it has obtained consents from most of its creditors to remunerate in seven installments starting in 2020, instead of the originally agreed-upon plan of 10 installments from December 2018.

* Beijing Sinnet Technology Co. Ltd. announced that it had obtained a permit from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology for cloud computing operation from August 2017 to April 2019. The company recently acquired Amazon Web Services business in China in order to comply with local laws and regulations.


* Infosys Ltd. completed a share repurchase program to buy back up to 130 billion Indian rupees worth of shares. The India-based company said it bought back 113,043,478 shares at 1,150 rupees apiece.

* Shashi Arora, CEO of Bharti Airtel Ltd.'s Airtel Payments Bank, stepped down from his post amid an ongoing controversy over the electronic know-your-customer licenses of the bank. Arora resigned to pursue opportunities outside of Bharti Airtel, according to the Indian telecom giant.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. cut its direct workforce in India by close to 30%, amid the ongoing merger consolidation in the country's telecom industry, specifically the Vodafone India-Idea Cellular Ltd. merger, and sector-wide financial woes, a company source told The Economic Times of India.

* HCL Technologies Ltd. is doubling its investments in cybersecurity and is considering upgrading three facilities in India, Maninder Singh, corporate vice president for cybersecurity at HCL Technologies, told The Economic Times of India. The company is also planning a new Cyber Security Fusion Center in the U.S. and is open to acquisitions to bolster its position in the sector.


* Vietnamese government unveiled a 10,000-strong military cyber warfare unit to fight "wrong" views on the internet, according to Reuters. Vietnam asked YouTube LLC and Facebook Inc. to remove inappropriate content on their sites in 2017. The Google unit has removed 90% of the 5,000 video clips deemed inappropriate by the government, The Nation reports. Facebook has removed 159 anti-government accounts, VnExpress International reports.

* Indonesian Minister of Communication and Informatics Rudiantara has confirmed that the ministerial decree on over-the-top, or OTT, businesses such as Google, Facebook and Twitter Inc. will be ready in the first quarter of 2018, news site Okezone reports. This ministerial decree will include the requirement for OTT service providers to pay taxes.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission transferred 20.1 billion Thai baht to the Ministry of Finance after receiving 1800 MHz license fee payments from Advanced Info Service and True Corp.'s TrueMove H, Prachachat reports. Both companies have now paid 75% of their total license fees.

* Thailand's Ministry of Digital Economy and Society said it will request a budget of 19 billion Thai baht for 2018, Manager reports. If approved, the ministry plans to use the money to help fund digital switchover programs, roll out Thailand 4.0 and strengthen cybersecurity.

* Singapore ride-hailing app company GrabTaxi Holdings Pte. Ltd. is planning to track its drivers' locations and habits even when the drivers are not transporting passengers, newspaper The Straits Times reports.

* Thailand's True Corp. said it aims to double the number of subscribers using its True ID entertainment platform from 14 million to 30 million by the end of 2018, Prachachat reports.


* Village Roadshow Ltd. sold a 154-hectare theme park site in Australia's Gold Coast to the LGIA super fund for A$100 million, the Australian Financial Review reports.

* Seven West Media Ltd.'s Seven Network, together with the Australian Paralympic Committee, entered a deal that will see the former cover the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games in March, the first time the games will be aired by an Australian commercial television network.


MarketWeek: Santa delivers gains to network owners; Comcast, AT&T spread tax cut cheer: A variety of news and general bullishness seemed to buoy media and communications stocks throughout the week leading into Christmas.

Data Dispatch: Disney/Fox deal's termination fees in context: The $1.53 billion termination fee for Disney should it decide to end its pursuit of Fox assets represents 2.8% of the $55.27 billion deal's value, less than the 3.9% average for other large media and communications deals in the past decade.


Technology: Global shipments of connected devices slow as signs of saturation appear: North America and Western Europe are experiencing declines or slow growth in connected device shipments due to saturated smartphone markets, leaving other device markets to drive overall growth.

Wireless Investor: Q3 big 5 carrier metrics roundup: Driven by upticks in postpaid, prepaid, and connected device subscribers, total subscribers for the big five carriers increased by 3.5% from the third quarter of 2016 to the third quarter of 2017, according to our estimates.

Joji Sakurai, Nicole Shiwon Kim, 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.