Welcome to the latest instalment of Last Week in Asia, our roundup of the key stories and developments from across Asia’s growing technology and Internet spaces.
Disclaimer from the start, you’ll find no mention of the Apple-Samsung US case here. Visit our final verdict post for more, while details of the Korean court ruling that found both companies guilty of infringing patents is here.
Chinese video services Youku and Tudou officially closed their $1 billion merger last week. Both companies’ shareholders approved the deal before sending out an official announcement on Thursday, which noted that Tudou would delist from the Nasdaq exchange on Friday.
With completion of the deal, Tudou is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Youku, which has changed its name to Youku Tudou Inc.
The companies announced their merger back in March and had expected to complete the deal during the third quarter of this year. Considering that they both lost money last quarter, the merger, which could save as much as $60 million in content licensing, is vital to their growth.
There were plenty of negative stories out of India last week but, to focus on the positives, Amazon finally launched its Kindle e-reader and introduced its digital book store in the country.
The Kindle is now available via retailer Croma, priced at 6,999INR (roughly $125), while the Kindle Store is live and boasts more than 1 million titles, including work from international and domestic authors.
Amazon also opened its Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) initiative in the country, allowing Indian writers and publishers to bring their content to the Kindle platform to target local readers and those in international locations.
Following the end of Sony’s association with Ericsson, Sony Mobile moved to lay off 1,000 jobs globally and move its headquarters from Lund, Sweden, to Tokyo, Japan.
The change of office will occur in October and Sony Mobile said that it will lay-off 15 percent of its personnel throughout its fiscal years of 2012 and 2013, effectively completing layoffs by the end of March 2014, in an attempt to “increase operational efficiency, reduce costs and drive profitable growth.
In order to do so, the company has filed for redundancy with Swedish authorities, alerting them to the fact that 650 employees will be affected by its strategic changes, with the remaining cuts being made to consultants it employs in the Swedish city.
Bubble Motion, the company behind voice blogging service Bubbly, raised $5 million from Japanese VC firm Jafco to help continues its global expansion and take a shot at the mainstream US market.
Bubble Motion has now raised $50 million, which CEO Tom Clayton told TNW will likely be the end of its funding, and the service — which has 19 million users — is aiming to crack the US by bringing Hollywood celebrities on board.
A larger number of celebrities in India, and other Asian markets, already use the service, which monetises by granting premium users access to the idols’ ‘bubbles’.
Background: E Ink began as a spin-off from MIT’s Media Lab before it was acquired by Taiwanese display maker Prime View International in 2009. After the transaction was completed, Prime View actually changed its name to E Ink Holdings.
That’s all for this week until next Sunday – you can keep up with all of our Last Week in Asia round-ups here or follow @TheNextWebAsia on Twitter for news as it happens.