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South Korea cuts Qualcomm fine; AT&T CEO weighs in on Huawei's 5G strategy

TOP NEWS

* South Korea's antitrust regulator reduced a decade-old fine imposed against Qualcomm Inc. by 18% to US$200 million, from about US$242.6 million, Reuters reported, citing the Korea Fair Trade Commission. The penalty was lowered, following a move by the U.S. top court in January to reverse a lower court ruling against Qualcomm for abusing its dominant market position in CDMA modem and radio frequency chips.

* AT&T Inc. CEO Randall Stephenson said Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. is making it harder for European carriers to choose a different supplier for their next-generation 5G wireless services, Reuters reported. Stephenson said the Chinese electronics giant is not allowing interoperability to 5G, meaning if a carrier used Huawei for its 4G network they are "stuck with Huawei for 5G."

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. saw its online game revenue growth drop to 6% in 2018 due to China's regulation of the game industry amid concerns about online addiction and health issues among children.

* Xiaomi Corp. CEO and founder Lei Jun said the company needs more time to develop its chip business. Under the pressure of U.S.-China trade tensions, Chinese companies have increasingly realized the importance of holding core technologies such as integrated circuits.

JAPAN

* Mubadala Ventures, the tech arm of Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Mubadala, is in talks with SoftBank Vision Fund LP-backed companies including OYO Corp. and SenseTime Group Ltd. for them to set up offices in a new technology hub in the United Arab Emirates, London's Financial Times reported.

SOUTH KOREA

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. is set to launch its first 5G smartphone, which the company claims is the world's first mobile device with 5G network capability, The Korea Times reported. The Galaxy S10's 5G model will be rolled out in South Korea on April 5 and is expected to cost between 1.4 million won and 1.5 million won.

* U.S.-based TVU Networks Corp. announced a partnership with KT Corp. wherein the two entities will work together to set up an enterprise 5G network and related broadcast capabilities in South Korea.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Dutch telecom operator KPN NV is about to close a 5G network construction deal with Huawei Technologies, RTL Z reported, citing sources involved in preparations for the network construction. KPN's plan is reportedly politically sensitive, as the Dutch government is working on a policy to control Chinese corporate influence in the Netherlands.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. will step up efforts to expand its cloud computing ecosystem by striking new partnerships and offering more cloud services, according to the South China Morning Post. Rival Tencent Holdings also revealed plans to increase its investments in cloud computing.

* Alibaba's AI Labs will allocate 100 million yuan for research and development projects around Chinese dialects, TechNode reported.

* Xiaomi launched a short video platform in Xiaomi Store and Baidu Inc.'s app to target young people, 36Kr reported. The platform mainly contains user-generated content of less than 10 minutes which will be sent to users in a story format.

* Huawei will debut a television set in April, 21st Century Business Herald reported, citing sources close to the matter. The device is reportedly fitted with a 50-inch screen and has a sales target of 10 million units in the first year.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Facebook Inc. is looking to invest in India's regional content space and is holding discussions with several content startups including PopXo, a digital community for women, Mint reported, citing two people familiar with the matter.

* Netflix Inc. is testing a mobile-only subscription with select users in India in a bid to expand its user base in the country, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The video streaming giant is charging 250 Indian rupees per month for its mobile-only plan.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Singapore-based gaming hardware company Razer Inc. struck a partnership with Tencent to collaborate in mobile gaming hardware, software and services areas.

* StarHub Ltd. announced the availability of a new digital lifestyle channel called Tech Storm HD on StarHub Fibre TV. The channel will show programs from content distributors such as Sony Pictures Television Inc., All3media International Ltd. and Looking Glass International.

* Malaysian telco U Mobile Sdn. Bhd. signed an agreement with ZTE Corp. to accelerate 5G development in Malaysia, The Securities Times reported. The partnership will see both companies collaborating on 5G development including live testing and the implementation of Massive MIMO.

* Thai telco Advanced Info Service PCL entered into a partnership with Tencent's "PUBG Mobile" in Thailand, pursuant to which AIS prepaid and postpaid customers can get unlimited gaming with no mobile data charges and exclusive in-game items.

* Indonesian fiber optic cables company PT Maju Bersama Gemilang has started building its 1 trillion-rupiah plant in Central Java, Bisnis.com reported. The production capacity will reach 10.5 million fiber kilometers per year, and the plant is slated for completion in four years.