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China sentences Canadian to death amid Huawei row; Airtel in talks to buy Telkom

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China sentences Canadian to death amid Huawei row; Airtel in talks to buy Telkom

TOP NEWS

* A Chinese court sentenced a Canadian citizen to death on drug trafficking charges in a retrial that has been linked to Canada's detention of Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. CFO Meng Wanzhou, who could be extradited to the U.S. to face charges related to violations of Iran sanctions, The Washington Post reports. China's Foreign Ministry rejected accusations that political motivations are driving the treatment of Canadian detainees.

* Bharti Airtel Ltd. is in talks to buy Telkom Kenya Ltd. to create a stronger rival to Safaricom PLC, the East African country's market leader, three industry sources told Reuters. Airtel, Kenya's second-biggest telecom operator, is holding discussions with Helios Investment Partners LLP, owner of a 60% stake in Telkom, as the London-based private equity firm is reportedly looking to partly cash out of the investment.

* The British government is promoting the country's financial technology in Asian markets in a bid to establish it as a global leader in the industry.

JAPAN

* NEC Corp. partnered with NTT Docomo Inc. and Tobu Railway Co. Ltd. to stream an 8K live video of a steam locomotive back onto the train. NEC provided the 5G base that supports 4.5 GHz and 28 GHz band in the 8K Ultra high definition live video transmission test using 5G service by NTT Docomo.

* KDDI Corp. said it has completed the real-time of transfer of 4K UHD surveillance video collected at a train platform in Tokyo during the one-month demo at Haneda Airport using Samsung's "5G end-to-end Solution."

SOUTH KOREA

* NAVER Corp. is set to begin selling mobile phones on its online shopping platform Smartstore from Jan. 15, allowing smartphones, used devices and devices launched overseas to be distributed through its channel without going through a mobile carrier, Yonhap News Agency reports.

* Huawei Technologies launched its 10.8-inch flagship tablet Huawei MediaPad M5 10 and wearable band Huawei Band 3 Pro in South Korea, E Daily reports. The smart band is the first wearable gadget that the Chinese manufacturer has introduced in South Korea.

* South Korean used phone seller Good Mobile entered into a strategic agreement with Pantech Co. Ltd. to revive and launch SKY-branded mobile phones and internet of things devices in the first half of 2019, Financial News reports. The two companies plan to launch one feature phone model around April and one smartphone model in May or June.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-backed Megvii Technology Ltd. plans to file for an IPO in Hong Kong that could net between US$500 million to US$1 billion, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter. The artificial intelligence startup, which owns facial recognition developer Face++, provides face-scanning systems to companies such as Lenovo Group Ltd. and Ant Financial Services Group.

* U.S. think tank Peterson Institute for International Economics said Beijing ByteDance Technology Co. Ltd.-owned video sharing app TikTok poses a national security threat to the West as it has become popular among the armed forces, Central News Agency reports. The institute also warned against gathering of user data, which could lead to a "Huawei-sized problem."

* Tencent Holdings Ltd. will build a regional headquarters in the city of Sanya, Hainan Province, to oversee gaming activities and businesses, Jiemian reports.

* Chinese smartphone manufacturer OPPO set up a mobile device division that will specialize in hardware development and building an internet of things platform, Caixin reports. The new department will focus on developing smart watches and earphones, and other smart devices for its internet of things platform.

* China Central Television teamed up with China Mobile Ltd. and Huawei Technologies to carry out the first 4K television broadcast supported by the 5G transmission network, Xinhua News reports. The partners have also reached a framework agreement to run a research laboratory for 4K UHD TV transmission, 4K virtual reality live productions and 4K mobile video editing.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Amazon.com Inc. invested another 3 billion rupees in capital into Amazon Pay in India, The Economic Times (India) reported, citing filings to the country's Register of Companies. It comes as Amazon Pay India faces competition from local rivals Paytm Mobile Solutions Pvt. Ltd. and PhonePe Internet Pvt. Ltd., as well as from U.S. rival Google LLC.

* Spotify Technology SA inked a global content deal with Indian music label T-Series, TechCrunch reports. Under the agreement, Spotify users will get access to T-Series' entire Indian music catalog comprising of over 160,000 tracks across various genres, such as Bollywood soundtracks, regional soundtracks, non-movie albums and songs from emerging artists.

* Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. plans to launch a budget smartphone series in India in a bid to counter its Chinese rival Xiaomi Corp., The Economic Times (India) reports. According to Asim Warsi, senior vice president of Samsung India, the three new M-series phones, which the company plans to sell only through e-commerce platforms, will help the company double its online sales.

* Indian digital wallet and e-commerce player Paytm is looking to move into the video content space by launching an over-the-top service. Three sources told The Economic Times (India) that the company has begun the hiring process for the service.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Bangkok Media and Broadcasting Co. Ltd. asked Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission to order Advanced Info Service PCL to stop airing "The Voice 2018" on its AIS Play platform, Thairath reports. Bangkok Media is reportedly the sole copyright holder of the program in Thailand.

* Thai pay TV operator True Visions PCL inked a deal to rent a transponder on the Thaicom 8 satellite of Thaicom PCL for its satellite TV service, Prachachat reports.

* PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia Tbk will focus on its digital lifestyle business this year, Kontan reports. According to Joddy Hernady, senior vice president of the company's media and digital business, the telco's digital lifestyle business would include music, games, entertainment, e-commerce and travel.

* Chow Tuck Mun has been appointed the head of Yoodo, the digital mobile service arm of Malaysian telco operator Celcom Axiata Bhd., according to The Edge Markets. Mun previously served in Celcom Axiata and its parent company Axiata Group Bhd.

* GET, the Thailand-based affiliate of ride-hailing company PT Go-Jek Indonesia, is set to expand its services to 14 districts in Bangkok, DealStreetAsia reports.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty. Ltd. is urging the government to release unused 5G spectrum, which the company says could lower the cost of 5G services, The Australian Financial Review reports. Vodafone said NBN Co Ltd., which has exclusive access to this unused band, is not using a large portion of it and that other telcos should not be prevented from accessing it for their own 5G networks.

* Singtel Optus Pty. Ltd. announced it has made a 5G data call on 60 MHz using 3.5 GHz spectrum. The call, made as part of prelaunch testing, was made from an Optus 5G site using a commercial grade 5G radio network and customer premises equipment developed in partnership with Nokia Corp.

FEATURED NEWS

The US Week Ahead: AT&T-Time Warner deal spotlighted as shutdown lingers: Confirmation hearings will be held Jan. 15-16 for William Barr to be U.S. attorney general. Barr has agreed to recuse himself from the DOJ's appeal to the AT&T-Time Warner merger.

The Week Ahead Europe: No-deal Brexit could shake up data privacy outlook: The U.K. government has said that a no-deal Brexit scenario, whereby Britain leaves the European Union in March 2019 without an agreement in place, could require companies to draw up new legal frameworks for data transfers in and out of the EU.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Economics of Internet: Over-the-top in the Middle East and Africa: Current State of the Market: Kagan rounds up select over-the-top services in the Middle East and Africa that have been recently updated in our OTT Services & Devices database.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway 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.