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India hikes taxes on electronic devices; CK Hutchison mulls sale of Italy towers

TOP NEWS

* India increased import tariffs on several electronic and communication devices on Oct. 12, in a bid to limit imports and halt a slide in the Indian rupee, Reuters reported. While details of the tariff hike were unclear, the Indian government cited items that could be impacted such as smart watches, Voice over Internet Protocol equipment and phones, and ethernet switches. The plan is the latest of such protectionist moves under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which promotes the Make in India program.

* Hong Kong-based CK Hutchison Holdings Ltd. is considering options for its mobile phone towers in Italy, including a potential sale that could value the portfolio at about US$1 billion, Bloomberg News reported, citing sources familiar with the matter. The conglomerate, which tapped advisers for a strategic review of the business, is reportedly eyeing the start of a formal sale process before the end of 2018.

JAPAN

* SoftBank Group Corp. has picked banks including Nomura Holdings Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG as lead underwriters for the IPO of its telecom unit SoftBank Corp., Bloomberg News reported, citing sources. The banks, which also include Mizuho Financial Group Inc. and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc., will help the company sell about ¥3 trillion of shares. The Japanese mobile operator reportedly intends to commence the sale process in November and list the shares on the Tokyo Stock Exchange on Dec. 19.

* NTT Docomo Inc.'s venture capital arm NTT Docomo Ventures Inc. invested an undisclosed sum in QD Laser Inc., a Japanese developer of semiconductor laser parts, retinal scanning laser eyewear and other products based on quantum dot laser technology.

SOUTH KOREA

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd.'s dual connectivity technology standard, which enables simultaneous data transmission over 5G and LTE networks, has been approved by the 3GPP, a project that unites telecommunications standard development organizations, ZDNet Korea reports. With the approval, the telco can apply the network-aggregation technology to send data via 5G frequency spectrum bands 3.5GHz and 28GHz, as well as LTE spectrum bands 800MHz, 1.8GHz, 2.1GHz and 2.6GHz.

* The Korea Communications Commission said 34,891 Korean-owned Facebook Inc. accounts have been impacted by the social media giant's latest security breach in September, ET News reports. The watchdog plans to follow up on the South Korean cases and take action if needed.

* Kakao Corp. launched a beta service for the voice profile feature of its artificial intelligence speaker Kakao Mini, News 1 reports. Users can explore the beta service by updating their Hey Kakao app and having their voices registered. Currently, the service only provides small talks based on personal information, but the company plans to develop it further for more personalized use.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* China will tighten the approval process for new games and game devices, according to a central government's plan titled, "Improvement for Chinese Consumption System from 2018 to 2020." There will also be regulations for online ticketing businesses.

* Google LLC told U.S. lawmakers it is "thoughtfully considering a variety of options" on how to offer services in China, The Intercept reported, citing a letter from Google CEO Sundar Pichai that was sent to six U.S. senators. Two of the addressed lawmakers earlier requested information from Pichai about a censored search engine the company was reportedly developing for China, purportedly codenamed "Dragonfly." Pichai said the company "can confirm that our work will continue to reflect our best assessment of how best to serve people around the world, as set forth in our mission and our code of conduct."

* NetEase Inc. subsidiary NetEase Cloud Music completed a funding round, with Baidu Inc. as a strategic investor, China Daily reports. Financial details were not disclosed. The two companies plan to cooperate for content, traffic flow and copyright.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Reliance Communications Ltd. received a nod to its proposed spectrum sale to Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. from India's telecom tribunal, which rejected a government demand to furnish bank guarantees before the sale, BusinessLine reported Oct. 11, citing sources.

* Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.-owned browser UCWeb Inc. denied media reports saying the company's Indian business is being acquired by Paytm E-Commerce Pvt. Ltd., Inc42 reports.

* Microsoft Corp. teamed up with Bangalore-based tech startup Spektacom Technologies and STAR India Pvt. Ltd. to launch Power Bat, a sports analytics platform that provides players, coaches, commentators, fans and viewers a new way to engage with the sport and help improve their game, Television Post reports.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Malaysian state-owned private equity firm EKUITI Nasional Bhd fully divested its entire equity interest in Tranglo Sdn Bhd, a cross-border mobile transaction gateway company, by selling its entire 60% stake to Hong Kong-based TNG FinTech Group Inc. for 114.9 million ringgit.

* Alibaba Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma said he will open an institute that will train thousands of tech entrepreneurs in Indonesia, Detik reports. The academy, which will reportedly be called Jack Ma Institute of Entrepreneur, aims to train 1,000 tech leaders a year over the next 10 years.

* Thai media conglomerate Nation Multimedia Group Public Co. Ltd. informed the country's Securities and Exchange Commission that its former directors and management may have manipulated its financial statements from 2015 to 2017, Krungthep Turakij reports. It is now up to the SEC to take legal action.

* Thailand's Broadcasting and Telecommunications Research and Development Fund for the Public Interest will grant a total of 55 million baht to two digital development projects. The deadline for project applications is on Nov. 9.

* PT Go-Jek Indonesia partnered with state-owned oil and gas company PT Pertamina (Persero) to launch an on-demand fuel-delivery service, Tech in Asia reports. The service, called Go-Pertamina, delivers fuel from the nearest Pertamina-operated gas station to users.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* News Corp. could sell its subscription TV unit FOXTEL if it does not successfully turn around its losses, The Australian Financial Review reports, citing Goldman Sachs analyst Kane Hannan.

FEATURED NEWS

MarketWeek: Big tech posts big declines amid broader stock market sell-off: Sharp declines in big tech stocks weighed on the broader technology, media and telecommunications sector for the week ended Oct. 12, which marked one of the most volatile trading weeks of the year to date.

FEATURED RESEARCH

Consumer Insights: How Americans get their news: Only one-third watch TV cable news: This is the first article in an eight-part series focused on News in America. This installment highlights how Americans get their news.

Joji Sakurai, Myungran Ha, Frances Wang, 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.