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Trump to block China Mobile's US entry; HTC to shed a quarter of its workforce

TOP NEWS

* The Trump administration is moving to block China Mobile Ltd.'s entry in the U.S. on the grounds of national security risks, Bloomberg News reports, citing a filing. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, a branch of the U.S. Commerce Department, wants the Federal Communications Commission to deny China Mobile's application to offer telecommunications services from within the U.S.

* HTC Corp. is laying off 1,500 employees in Taiwan, or around a quarter of its global workforce comprising 6,450 staff members, to control costs. According to Reuters, the downsizing, which will be completed by the end of September, is part of the company's strategy to better manage resources as it continues to battle dwindling revenues and sales.

* ZTE Corp. named Li Zixue chairman and revamped its board in line with the company's settlement to end a seven-year export ban imposed by the U.S. The Chinese telecommunications equipment maker appointed Li Zixue and Gu Junying as executive directors; Li Buqing, Zhu Weimin and Fang Rong as nonexecutive directors; and Cai Manli, Yuming Bao and Gordon Ng as independent nonexecutive directors. The previous board, consisting of 14 members and including former Chairman Yin Yimin, resigned June 29.

* China Merchants Group Ltd., SPF Group and London-based Centricus Asset Management Ltd. joined forces to set up a 100 billion yuan fund which seeks to invest in or acquire tech companies, Reuters reported, citing a company statement.

JAPAN

* Atlantic Media Inc. agreed to sell its global business news site Quartz Media LLC to Uzabase Inc., a Tokyo-based business intelligence and media company. Uzabase will pay between US$75 million and US$110 million for Quartz, depending on the achievement of future financial and operating performance goals in 2018.

* Viacom Inc.'s Viacom International Media Networks inked a channel distribution deal with Amazon.com Inc. to make Nickelodeon Japan and MTV MIX available on Amazon Prime Video Channels starting July 3.

* Paris-based chipmaker Sequans Communications SA inked an agreement with NTT DoCoMo to accelerate the development of narrowband internet of things devices and applications on Docomo's network.

SOUTH KOREA

* D'Live upgraded its over-the-top service with the launch of D'Live Plus UHD. The revamped platform offers Google Inc.'s YouTube LLC, Alphabet Inc.'s Google Assistant, and supports Google Android TV 8.0 and Netflix Inc. 5.0.

* Lotte Group's Lotte Cultureworks will release its SEECHU over-the-top service July 10, offering local and foreign movies, Yonhap News Agency reports.

* LG Group International Corp.'s IT business arm LG CNS Co. Ltd. launched an internet of things platform called INFioT, which can handle diverse data and support 24 industry protocol standards, Yonhap News Agency reports.

* SK Telecom Co. Ltd. will work with the Incheon International Airport on a smart airport project. The South Korean telco will utilize big data, artificial intelligence and IoT technologies to provide real-time parking information and predict the number of people entering the airport.

CHINA, HONG KONG AND TAIWAN

* Tencent Holdings Ltd.-backed Chinese social e-commerce startup Pinduoduo plans to raise at least $1 billion in a U.S. IPO, Bloomberg News reported. The company is founded by ex-Google Inc. engineer Colin Huang and sells products at up to 20% less than market price by cutting out middlemen, advertising and acquisition costs.

* Jinri Toutiao is entering the live game-streaming market, 36kr reports, citing sources. The Chinese news aggregation app has been recruiting game show hosts in recent months and has reportedly tapped its short video production arm to develop a new game-streaming app.

* Datang Telecom Technology Co. Ltd. entered a strategic partnership with Tencent to accelerate the development of 5G technology and infrastructure, C114 reports.

* Yang Chao, deputy general manager of Qihoo 360 Software Co. Ltd., has left the company due to personal reasons.

* SAIC Motor Corp. Ltd. will set up an AI laboratory to develop AI-powered applications for smart travel and smart manufacturing, The Paper reports.

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA

* Bharti Infratel Ltd. said the Competition Commission of India has cleared its merger with Indus Towers Ltd., which will create a create a US$14.6 billion company that operates more than 160,000 towers in across India.

* Reliance Industries Ltd. will acquire Oregon-based open telecom solutions company Radisys Corp. for US$1.72 per share. Reliance Jio Infocomm Ltd. Director Akash Ambani said the acquisition "will accelerate Jio's global innovation and technology leadership in the areas of 5G, IoT and open source architecture adoption."

* The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has taken punitive action against Indian carriers for not meeting service quality yardsticks in the December 2017 quarter. A penalty of 3.1 million Indian rupees has been imposed on Reliance Jio for failing to meet service levels at the point of interconnect congestion, customer care, accessibility of call centers and meeting service closure requests. Bharti Airtel Ltd. has to meet penalties worth 2.3 million rupees for its failure to meet standards in billing and metering, call center accessibility and response time to consumers. Fines amounting to around 2.9 million rupees have been slapped on Idea Cellular Ltd. for call drops, metering and billing, accessibility of call centers and response time to subscribers.

* MEASAT Satellite Systems expanded its presence in South Asia with the distribution of Nepalese TV channels News24, Sagarmatha TV and Prime TV.

SOUTHEAST ASIA

* Singapore-based retail technology startup Trax raised US$125 million in a funding round led by Chinese private equity firm Boyu Capital as the company prepares for a U.S. IPO, Bloomberg News reports.

* NBCUniversal Media LLC's NBCUniversal International Networks and Mono Technology PCL rolled out a DreamWorks Animation LLC-branded programming block in Thailand, World Screen reports. The dedicated block launched on the digital free-to-air network Mono29 features the latest DreamWorks shows dubbed in Thai language.

* Singapore Press Holdings launched Sweet, a new creative and content marketing unit that will be led by Damien Bray, former CEO of Brand New Media Asia.

* Telstra Corp. Ltd. discontinued its accelerator program muru-D in Singapore after conducting three cohorts in the city-state, according to Deal Street Asia.

* Malaysia's Celcom Axiata Bhd. launched its personal security device SafeMate, which allows users to request emergency assistance, according to Digital News Asia.

* Thailand's National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission suspended local TV programs "The Daily Dose" and "Wake Up News" for their alleged lack of neutrality and attacks on the government. The regulator also threatened to suspend Voice TV's broadcasting license if the two programs do not undergo some form of content revision, according to Voice TV.

* Thailand's National Anti-Corruption Media Coalition asked the NBTC to look into a court order that required Advanced Info Service PCL to stop its broadcast of the 2018 World Cup, Kom Chat Luek reports. According to Thai must-carry rules, AIS is required to broadcast FIFA matches, but the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court recently ruled that doing so violated the copyright of TrueVisions, which holds FIFA broadcasting rights in the country.

AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND

* Unlockd Media Pty Ltd. received a nonbinding offer from ASX-listed investment vehicle Invigor Group Ltd., The Australian Financial Review reports. The Australian tech startup entered into voluntary administration in June after a legal dispute with Google caused the company to scrap its IPO plans.

* HarbourVest Partners LLC completed its acquisition of an undisclosed stake in Telstra Ventures Pty. Ltd. for A$75 million.

* Village Roadshow Ltd. agreed to sell its Wet'n'Wild Water Park in Western Sydney to Parques Reunidos Servicios Centrales SA for A$40 million.

FEATURED NEWS

The US Week Ahead: Weighing mobile location privacy ahead of Independence Day: While most lawmakers have left Washington, D.C., to celebrate the week of July 4th in their home states, the Center on Privacy and Technology will discuss location privacy after the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Carpenter v. United States.

FEATURED RESEARCH

The Best Of: Kagan research and analysis, editor's picks: Presenting the editor's top picks from Kagan's exclusive research and analysis for the week ended June 29.

Nozomi Ibayashi, Nicole Shiwon Kim, 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.