MNCs in the News*
February 13th, 2017
China’s goal of shifting to a more consumption, service, and higher-valued added economy is reflected in subnational level data. China remains optimistic about Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2017, but plans to guide it to and sees it encountering many challenges. Syngenta believes the ChemChina-Syngenta acquisition will close in second quarter of 2017 despite remaining regulatory hurdles. China halts major Lotte construction projects in northeastern China in apparent punishment for South Korea’s embrace of THAAD. Prior to Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s early February meeting with US President Donald Trump, Sharp Corp. announced it would build a liquid crystal display panel plant in the US. Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son touts his progress in fulfilling his job creation promise to U.S. President Donald Trump. Chinese forthcoming revised anti-monopoly guidelines worry South Korean firms which fear they might be used against it. In the face of political pressures, Samsung Electronics will build its first home appliance plant in the US despite fears about the price competitiveness of US production. Moody’s Investor Service upgrades its credit outlook for Indonesia with positive implications for Indonesia’s ability to attract FDI. Indonesian aviation regulatory burdens cause Tigerair to cease its flights to Bali island.
February 13th, 2017
Facebook’s efforts in China fail to deliver an opening. Japan’s Marubeni will build and manage one of the world’s largest mega solar power plants in the world in the United Arab Emirates. Japanese, Chinese, and Korean firms win multi-billion dollar contracts to improve and expand the capacity of Iranian oil facilities. Korean firms win main Turkish bridge building contract. South Korean firm Daewoo E&C re-signs road project in Qatar that might provide a beachhead for 2022 FIFA World Cup deals.
January 31st, 2017
China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology sooths foreign firms over upcoming restrictions on VPN providers. Trump administration trade officials back a tougher line towards Chinese semiconductor investment and greater support for home firms. China stresses how Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US promotes manufacturing there and creates jobs. Hon Hai is considering a USD $7 billion investment in a joint flat panel project in the US with Pennsylvania a leading contender. In the wake of growing anxieties over Chinese investment, Australia moves to prepare review of strategic infrastructure. Apparently incentivized by Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other anti-trade statement, Toyota talks up $600 million investment plan. Toshiba’s troubles in the UK may force it to take on new partners and get United Kingdom (UK) government financing. Domestic and international political uncertainties seem to be driving a slowdown in inward FDI flows into Indonesia. Chinese outward FDI to Indonesia has been exploding, but it is uncertain if it will continue given uncertainties there plus anti-Chinese sentiments.
January 31st, 2017
China moves to lower restrictions on foreign investment in various financial sectors including banking, insurance, and credit ratings. China’s outward direct investment (ODI) hits new high in 2016 with a significant amount going into manufacturing and information technology. China’s State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission says it will release a negative list for two categories of outward foreign investment by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Toyota Motor and Nissan Motor. Corp. say they will continue to manufacture cars and auto parts in the United Kingdom despite Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans for full Brexit. It’s “light out” for multi-billion dollar Samsung Engineering power and desalination project in Saudi Arabia. Hyundai will invest USD $3.1 billion in the United States (US) over the next five years in response to US President Donald Trump’s threats to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Indonesia Finance Minister cites the herd mentality as the basis for her fighting JP Morgan’s downgrade of her country’s investment rating. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak accuses former Prime Minister Dr. Mahatir Mohamad of slander over criticism of Johor project. Vietnam expects Japan to become its top investor. Vietnam’s Party Secretary encourage Chinese firms to bring advanced technology to his country.
January 16th, 2017
China’s inward foreign direct investment (FDI) increases moderately over 2015, with a major proportion going into the service sector. Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) soared in 2016, hitting new records, with Europe, above all, Germany a key destination. Jack Ma meets with US President-elect Trump and touts Alibaba’s potential to create one million jobs. Takata pleads guilty to one criminal charge and will pay USD $1 billion in fines in conjunction with falsifying test data about its faulty airbags. Honda will invest USD $372 million in an existing facility in Ontario, Canada. Japanese energy producer JX Nippon Oil & Gas and NRG Energy Inc. complete the world’s biggest carbon capture system in Texas. Apparently prodded by Trump’s protectionist rhetoric, Samsung Electronics will build its first home appliance plant in the US. Indonesia modifies it mineral export ban policy because of its challenging economic growth situation. Indonesia and Japan will discuss business and investment cooperation during a visit by Japanese Prime Minister and during post-visit meetings between Indonesia’s President and a large delegation of Japanese CEOs
January 9th, 2017
China forces Apple to withdraw New York Times apps from its China App store. During a visit to Korea, Chinese Foreign Ministry official warns Korean businesses of possible adverse consequences because of South Korea’s adoption of THAAD system. US government report may result in tighter restrictions on foreign involvement in US semiconductor sector with particular ramifications for Chinese investors. There are doubts Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US will be able to maintain the same volume in 2017 as in 2016. Sri Lanka will strike agreements with Chinese investors to advance the Hambantota Port project, but large local protests dampen the atmosphere. Donald Trump blasts Toyota’s plans to invest in Mexico and sell to the US, with Japanese officials defending the contribution of Japanese firms to the US. While growing slowly, inward FDI (IFDI) into South Korea hits new heights with European Union (EU) investors representing a big proportion of investing firms. Indonesia remains optimistic about its ability to attract IFDI despite the fracturing of its partnership with JP Morgan Chase. Thailand plans new measures and new focuses in its efforts to reach new IFDI targets for 2017.
January 1st, 2017
China plans to open various financial services sectors to foreign investors but details and timeframes remain unclear. Regulatory pressures inside and outside China may slow or reverse somewhat the pace of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI). Conditions at home and abroad plus drags on Chinese OFDI may lead Japan to become a more prominent outward investor in 2017. Takata Corp. may settle the United States (US) Department of Justice criminal case against it. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission slaps USD $900 million fine on Qualcomm for abusing its market power. Deal by Malaysian state owned firm for a palm oil project in Indonesia raises political concerns within Malaysia as well as some environmental and labor concerns.
December 27th, 2016
American firms fret that Trump’s stances on China trade and Taiwan may lead China to retaliate against them. Chinese firm drops contract with Korean software and platform provider due to sensitivities about Korea’s decision to deploy the THAAD system. Foreign decision makers strongly distrust Chinese state-owned enterprises where merger and acquisition deals are concerned. China retorts those critics arguing One Belt, One Road is a massive dumping scheme do not understand the idea of a double circulation economy. Japan is moving to force foreign pharmaceutical product prices to undergo annual reviews. Softbank pledges $1 billion investment in United States (US) as a partial fulfillment of a commitment made to US president-elect Trump. Russia, Japan, and many private companies strike new deals leading to cooperation possibilities in new areas. Japanese firms still intrigued by opportunities in the United Kingdom (UK) despite Brexit. The UK and Japan glow about a major nuclear cooperation agreement. The European Commission has fined Sony Corp., Panasonic Corp., and Sanyo Electric Co. regarding rechargeable lithium-ion battery price fixing. Investment in South Korea’s free economic zones is soaring but below prior highs. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. wins two orders including one from Iran’s state-owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, the latter’s first post sanction order. Indonesia and Google fail to come to a settlement about Google’s alleged tax underpayments. Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha orders mine operated by Australian gold miner Kingsgate subsidiary Akara Resources to shut down for health and environmental reasons. Vietnam’s inward FDI hits new low for the year.
December 13th, 2016
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) have reduced the number of sectors on its foreign investment catalog restricted and prohibited lists by more than 30 percent. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) has denied there are restrictions on foreign firms' crossborder profit transfers. The NDRC has imposed a more than $17 million fine on Medtronic for violating China’s anti-monopoly laws. China’s national cybersecurity standards body, The Technical Committee 260, ignores foreign company pleas about its technical standards for operating systems, microprocessors, and office software. China’s concerns about capital flight and money laundering led it to strengthen its review of overseas deals exceeding USD $10 billion and in an overseas entity unrelated to the investor’s core business. China launches $22 billion fund to support overseas investments by Chinese companies. Chinese investment in Europe soars over 2015 totals. Softbank owner Masayoshi Son promises Donald Trump he will make a massive investment in the US. South Korea’s largest steel pipe producer buys two oil country tubular goods (OCTG) related facilitates in the US to escape possible US trade barriers. Indonesia’s Ambassador to Singapore encourages greater investment from Singapore, Indonesia’s largest foreign investor. Chinese investment in Indonesia soars, helping with infrastructure development, but raising some concerns. Chinese delegation from Zhejiang province to travel to Indonesia to assess the political risk environment in the country. Foreign companies in Thailand ask Prime Minister to update its laws pertaining to foreign workers. Official Thai delegation to China hopes to attract more investment, reinforce the relationship, and increase cooperation on China’s One Belt, One Road initiative. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak rejected the notion he was trading the country’s sovereignty for foreign investment. Vietnam’s FDI inflows reach record highs and Vietnam promises steps to attract more investment.
November 28th, 2016
China’s Ministry of Commerce notes that it will continue to welcome and support foreign direct investment (FDI) from the European Union (EU). Very senior Chinese Communist Party official meets with Microsoft CEO and calls for the company to share its technology with China. China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce imposes almost a $100 million fine on Sweden’s Tetra Pak for abuse of its market position. Qualcomm’s joint venture with the Guizhou provincial government will start to produce China-customized server chips in 2018. I order to enter China, Facebook reportedly is working on a tool that would empower the Chinese government to censor content. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) said it would recommend a Chinese investment consortium not be allowed to purchase Germany’s Aixtron. The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said Washington should take action to ban China’s state-owned firms from acquiring U.S. companies. Japan’s Itochu Corporation and Electric Power Development Co. Ltd. will provide full support for the construction of a coal-fired Batang power plant in Central Java. Japan and Argentina work to boost Japanese investment in Argentina. New China Ministry of Industry and Information battery production standard will severely limit Korean battery sales in China. China takes adverse actions against Korean financial companies to, it is believed, punish Korea for its acceptance of the THAAD system. Despite uncertainties flowing from the US presidential election result, the Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board still has faith in its investment realization targets. The Indonesia-Japanese investment relationship remains robust. Following on the heels of his efforts to court Chinese investors, Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak is lobbying Japanese investors to put money in higher-value added activities in his country. Vietnam welcomes foreign investors to participate in the restructuring of the country’s banking sector. Vietnam pushes for investment in the food processing sector.