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Netflix growth in Asia; Japan's tech vendor contracts; Fujifilm's bid


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Netflix growth in Asia; Japan's tech vendor contracts; Fujifilm's bid


* Netflix Inc. provided a detailed breakdown of its international subscribers and regional revenue for the first time in a Dec. 16 regulatory filing. The filing showed subscriber growth is fastest in Asia and Latin America. In the Asia-Pacific region, the company reported 14.5 million subscribers at the end of September, representing growth of 148% from the same period in 2017. In terms of revenue, the Asia-Pacific region generated US$382 million at the end of September, a rise of 153% from the same period in 2017.

* The Japanese government is proposing a law that would require companies such as Inc., Google LLC and Facebook Inc. to disclose the terms of their contracts with vendors, The Mainichi reported. Under the bill, digital companies would need to provide information about changes to the contracts and allow the vendors to submit complaints. The proposal, which seeks to protect small vendors from potentially abusive practices by tech companies, will be submitted to parliament in 2020, according to the report.

* Fujifilm Holdings Corp. confirmed to Reuters that the company is considering buying Hitachi Ltd.'s diagnostic imaging unit to expand its medical business. Nikkei Asian Review earlier reported that the acquisition would cost around ¥170 billion.


* Toshiba Corp. will establish a wholly owned subsidiary called Toshiba Data Corp. on Feb. 3, 2020, to promote its data utilization business, including internet of things and artificial intelligence.


* A Seoul court handed down jail terms to two Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. executives for sabotaging labor union activities at the company's customer service unit, Yonhap News Agency reports. Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Sang-hoon and Vice President Kang Kyung-hoon were both sentenced to 18 months in prison for breaching labor union-related laws.

* LG U+ and Korea Air Force Academy partnered to create a 5G-enabled smart campus by the end of 2020, ET News reports. The parties will also cooperate in developing defense technologies and applying information communications technologies to cadet training.

* KT Corp. is collaborating with camera maker Insta360 to offer better 5G-based video communication services, Yonhap News Agency reports. The companies agreed to integrate KT's Real 360 service with Insta360's software development kit and boost cooperation in marketing activities.

* South Korea laid out a national artificial intelligence strategy framework with a goal of adding 455 trillion won to the economy by 2030, Digital Times reports. The plans include investing in next-generation semiconductor research projects, forming an AI complex, streamlining rules and legal codes, and providing more support to AI-related startups.


* U.S. technology companies rejected a request from the Trump administration to pledge that they will stop sourcing supplies from Chinese companies, London's Financial Times reports.

* Tencent Music Entertainment Group announced a share repurchase program to buy back up to US$400 million of its class A ordinary shares in the form of American depositary shares over a 12-month period.

* Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. opened its 5G innovation and experience center in London to promote collaboration between businesses and innovators in the development of 5G ecosystems. The center exhibits real-time and interactive gaming, virtual and augmented reality technologies and smart manufacturing.

* Ericsson said it completed a Voice over New Radio test using a 5G-enabled device in partnership with Taiwanese semiconductor company MediaTek Inc.

* Huang Jie, deputy editor of Tencent Holdings Ltd.'s Tencent Video, said the company plans to provide a balanced quantity of creative and traditional content, expand its client base to lower-tier cities and in overseas markets, and apply 5G and VR technologies to enhance the user experience, 36Kr reports.

* China Mobile Ltd. is aiming to sell over 100 million units of 5G smartphones in 2020, Tencent News reports.


* Netflix is working with Tipping Point, the digital content arm of Viacom 18 Media Pvt. Ltd.'s Viacom18 Studios, on three new original Indian series, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The development follows the announcement of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings that the company is on track to spend US$420.5 million on original and licensed content in India.

* Panasonic Life Solutions India, a subsidiary of Panasonic Corp., will build a new factory in southern India that will produce wiring devices, electrical wires and switchgear with an investment of about ¥4.6 billion. The factory is scheduled to start operations in autumn 2021.

* India will commence 5G trials between January to March 2020, a senior government official told The Economic Times (India). The telecom department, which is reviewing the applications submitted by telecom carriers and technology vendors, has not yet decided whether to exclude Huawei in the trials.


* Singaporean fashion platform Zilingo Pte. Ltd. acquired Sri Lanka-based software-as-a-service startup nCinga innovations in a cash-and-stock deal worth US$15.5 million, reports. Zilingo will deploy nCinga's manufacturing execution system software across its network of 6,000 factories and 75,000 businesses.

* True Move H Universal Communication Co. Ltd. sold over 105 million of its investment units in the Digital Telecommunications Infrastructure Fund, Kaohoon reports. The Thailand-based telco still holds about 29% of all investment units in the fund.

* True Corp. is seeking a consultant that will analyze the prices of 5G frequencies in Thailand, Krungthep Turakij reports. The company wants to make sure whether its participation in the upcoming 5G auction would be worth the investment.

* Malaysia-based U Mobile Sdn. Bhd. collaborated with local healthcare startup DoctorOnCall to develop DOCpod, an online platform that allows patients to receive remote consultations from a doctor, The Sun Daily reports.


* The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said it will not oppose the proposed merger of Seven West Media Ltd. and Prime Media Group Ltd., which recently hit a roadblock after two major shareholders said they will vote against the deal.

* Cisco Systems Inc. plans to acquire Australia-based network devices manufacturer Exablaze. The transaction is expected to close in the fiscal third quarter of 2020.

* The New Zealand government announced plans to run an auction process in early 2020 for the allocation of short-term rights to an unused portion of 3.5 GHz band for 5G data services. Spark New Zealand Ltd. said it plans to participate in the auction.


5G Focus: Vodafone NZ rollout; Russian telco tie-up; Nokia's Japanese deals: 5G Focus is a weekly global feature including notable 5G trials, launches, use cases and major equipment supply contracts. It also features in-depth analysis of strategies, expansion plans, business models and other related initiatives.


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Nozomi Ibayashi, Myungran Ha, Emily Lai, Ed Eduard and Wil Hathaway contributed to this report.

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