MNCs in the News*

May 31st, 2017
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports the country will significantly reduce its negative list for inward foreign direct investment (FDI). China counters German criticisms of its market access by saying it will open its auto sector and that Germany had profited substantially from China’s past opening. China’s new cybersecurity law is sparking foreign companies to move to comply and deterring foreign company hardware/software sales. From January through April, China’s non-financial outward FDI drops significantly versus the same period last year. Japanese firms cooperate with US counterparts to develop missile defense radar. Japanese firms not enthused about China’s OBOR and see better business opportunities flowing from other initiatives. Japanese multinational firms that have invested heavily in Africa are worried about the continent’s prolonged economic slump. The leader of Korean SK Group leave for Beijing to meet with Chinese officials to normalize relations after his country’s installation of THAAD. K-Sure signs USD $3 billion deal to finance clean fuels project in Kuwait. Geely buys 49.9 percent of troubled Malaysian carmaker Proton. Malaysian Prime Minister says government programs make Malaysia’s FDI inflows for this year surpass last year’s. Vietnam plans to set up three special economic zones to boost foreign investment. Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister reiterates country’s dedication to welcoming foreign investors.
May 23rd, 2017
Almost five dozen global business groups send letter to top Chinese officials asking China to postpone the implementation of its cybersecurity law. Foreign pharmaceutical companies seek new ways to get high off China’s pharmaceutical policy reforms. Several American senators scream that Ant Financial’s takeover of MoneyGram is a national security threat. Joint strategic and security concerns over China’s Belt and Road initiative drive Japan and India to engage in new economic partnership. China’s economic retaliation against South Korea following South Korea’s adoption of THAAD missile system decreases after the installation of a new Korean government. Daewoo E&C and Hanwha E&C partner with Saudi Arabian government to develop new Saudi Arabian city. Wanda Group Chairman meets with Malaysia’s Prime Minister and considers investment exceeding USD $10 billion in Bandar Malaysia development. Malaysia’s troubled carmaker Proton seeks to sell up to 51 percent stake to foreign investor. Survey shows that despite government encouragement to go overseas smaller Singapore businesses emphasize local investments. Vietnam’s President welcomes Chinese hi-tech investment as Hanoi pursues a green economy and economic growth. Transfer pricing continues to be a serious problem with foreign investment in Vietnam.
May 23rd, 2017
Germany’s top financial regulator generically welcomes Chinese investment in Germany’s financial sector. Tokyo and Beijing discuss bilateral economic relations and cooperation, as Japan fears potential spillover of China’s economic problems. India’s Finance Minister invites Japanese companies and financial institutions to engage in India’s “Made in India” initiative. POSCO and SeAH Steel join growing list of Korean multinationals joining American Chamber of Commerce Korea. Malaysian federal government’s support increases Johor’s appeal as a foreign direct investment (FDI) destination. Failure of Chinese bailout deal fuels speculation about future of Chinese investments in Malaysia. Formosa accelerates investment in USD $11.03 billion integrated steel mill project in Vietnam. Vietnam’s Prime Minister meets with Hong Kong delegation to promote infrastructure investment in Vietnam.
May 8th, 2017
The Cyberspace Administration of China will begin hardware and software checks starting June 1. Foxconn Technology Group Chairman indicates it is looking at investment prospects in the United States (US) following meetings with US officials. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asks British Prime Minister Theresa May to ensure a smooth transition for Japanese business following Brexit to limit problems for Japanese investors. Japan launches various initiatives to ease the way for greater foreign investment. Russia and Japan agree on key terms and conditions for launching a joint investment fund to boost their investment cooperation. Chinese economic retaliation due to South Korea’s deployment of the US THAAD system has potentially cost the Korean economy USD $7.6 billion. E-Mart to close China outlets by the end of this year partly due to anti-Korean sentiments flowing from Seoul’s deployment of THAAD. Japan’s bid for high-speed rail connecting Kuala Lumpur with Singapore to include financing, talent development, and collaboration with local companies. Foreign technology companies increase Singaporean investment following strong demand and government incentives. Vietnam licensed major gas pipeline project which represents its second billion-dollar foreign investment project in 2017 and an increase of total FDI. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister encourages Sumitomo Mitsui to increase investment in the country’s infrastructure.
May 2nd, 2017
China’s ambitions to become one of the world’s great auto manufacturers lead it to consider relaxing its limits on foreign auto investment in the United States. Recent report touts increasing volume of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US and commensurate job contribution. Abe-Putin summit leads to 20 agreements for joint projects involving Japanese investment, technology transfer, and other forms of economic cooperation. Korea and US hold conference on cooperation in energy sector following the Trump administration’s new America First energy policy. Concerns over governance, transparency and competitiveness of the issuance of contracts make Perkasa demand public discussions on FDI in Malaysia. Malaysia’s health care system and medical tourism facilitate growth in the country’s inward FDI. South Korea’s Posco Group awaits Vietnamese government approval for build-operate-transfer clean coal power plant. Vietnam’s PV Gas and foreign partners to construct a USD $1.27 billion natural gas pipeline in Vietnam.
April 24th, 2017
Big foreign companies increasingly willing to voice complaints about the situation in China. China’s limits on capital outflows affect the willingness of some to invest in China. Beijing is considering “braking” the requirement capping foreign companies ownership in the auto sector to no more than 50 percent with some predicting a crash of domestic firms if this happens. China’s nonfinancial outward foreign direct investment (OFDI) experienced major drops in March over the prior year and over the first quarter of 2017 year-over-year (YOY). China’s One Belt, one Road (OBOR) initiative leads to the signing of a major number of transportation related accords. Sharp considers joint bid with Hon Hai on Toshiba’s memory chip unit as it seeks to mitigate national security concerns. Kia plans USD $900 billion car manufacturing plant in India to surmount India’s steep import duties and China’s anti-Korean economic sanctions. Malaysian trade mission to South Korea brings home Korean investment worth around USD $550 million. Malaysia seeks to increase its cooperation with New Zealand in IT and tourism sectors. Vietnam develops public-private partnership framework allowing more foreign investment particularly from Japan in its infrastructure sector. Hoang Son Trading Investment JSC partners with Spanish-Japanese joint venture to build new solar plant in Vietnam.
April 18th, 2017
China announces draft rule that would require certain firms to obtain permission to transfer data out of China. Apple promotes the adoption by yet more of its China suppliers of renewable energy. A Chinese think tank and corporate collaborator release a report showing that Chinese firms have been substantially boosting their investment in the manufacturing sector. Potential seen for greater Chinese involvement in ambitious American infrastructure programs. China and Myanmar agree to open oil pipeline linking Myanmar’s Kyaukpyu port to Yunnan, China. Likely opposition from Japanese and US government may drive Toshiba to reject highest bid from Taiwan’s China-connected Hon Hai. Korean companies participate in Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 project and, accordingly, will get special support from the Saudi government. Foreign firms pour money into South Korea’s IT, fashion, and entertainment startups to profit from Korea’s cultural power. News reports reveal Malaysia Korea Partners funneled money to the leadership in Pyongyang for decades, violating UN sanctions. China’s Alibaba Group and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) jointly establish Digital Free Trade Zone. Cheaper labor, less stringent legal structure, and better intellectual property right protections spur Italian corporate pivot from China into Vietnam. Local officials in Can Tho court French investment in various sectors including agriculture.
April 11th, 2017
China’s State Council creates seven new free trade zones bringing the total number in the country to 11. China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) pushes foreign businesses to support its efforts to limit capital outflows from China. Prior to Donald Trump-Xi Jinping meeting, Chinese parliamentarian links the quality of the meeting to Google’s prospects for entering China. European Union regulators approve China National Chemical Corporations (ChemChina)’s massive acquisition of Syngenta while requiring some significant divestitures. Trump administration considers some dramatic steps to keep Westinghouse’s nuclear business out of Chinese hands. Sibanye Gold Ltd.’s proposed investment in Stillwater mining may not be golden because of American concerns over strategic materials access. Iran-Japan Investment Treaty enters into force on April 26 and may spur Japanese energy investment in Iran. Japanese foreign acquisitions hit a new record of almost USD $100 billion in fiscal year 2016, but performance is dubious. South Korea’s installation of the THAAD system continues to affect adversely Sino-Korean economic relations and Korean businesses. The fallout between China and South Korea over THAAD contributes to South Korean car manufacturers reducing production in their Chinese factories. Consortium of Chinese and Indonesian companies signs contract launching the construction phase of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed train project. Afghan President Ghani encourages Indonesian investors to invest in Afghanistan and stresses the security of foreign investors as a top government priority. Tier-one American aerospace manufacturer may invest in Malaysia stimulating business for small and medium enterprises and creating high-income jobs. India and Malaysia sign investment deals with a value of USD $36 billion. Belgium plans to ramp up green energy investment in Vietnam.
April 3rd, 2017
Chinese government financial institutions intensify their backing for China’s “Made in China 2025” initiative and press non-governmental bodies to increase their support. Chinese law on joint ventures with specific requirements regarding new energy vehicles alarms foreign carmakers which fear they will be required to transfer technology. Beijing Intellectual Property Court supports Apple on design patent dispute with Shenzhen Baili. United States Trade Representative office issues report on trade barriers, highlighting many problems relating to China’s treatment of American companies in China. Chinese officials continue to defend their intensified oversight of Chinese outward investment. Tsinghua Unigroup garners massive new aid pledges from the China Development Bank and China national chip fund. Myanmar reportedly will restart construction on a China financed oil pipeline. Last week, the Chinese business community in Kenya establishing a lobbying group. Westinghouse’s bankruptcy filing means troubled Toshiba faces a potential net loss of USD $9 billion net loss in 2016. Russia and Japan discuss plans for investment projects and other joint cooperation on the disputed Kuril Islands. SK Innovation Co. freezes the operations of its battery packing plant in China, denying they relate to Chinese economic sanctions against Korea. Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction Co. secures Saudi Arabia seawater desalination deal worth over USD $400 million. Mining giant PT Freeport Indonesia agrees to convert its contract of work into a special mining permit, providing a potential basis for a settlement of its disputes with the Indonesia government.
March 30th, 2017
The Information Technology & Innovation Foundation (United States) has called for global action in the face of China’s Made in China 2025 plan. Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) official defends his country’s “Made in China 2025” plan. China’s Food and Drug Administration issues draft policy that would allow foreign drugs to be tested and approved much more quickly in China. During a visit to China, Apple CEO Tim Cook announces Apple will open new R&D centers in Shanghai and Suzhou. Microsoft touts the development of a China-specific Windows 10 operating system that is “secure and controllable.” Chinese government agencies are working on a policy that would specify those sectors where outward foreign direct investment (FDI) was encouraged and those where it was restricted. Tokyo says it does not plan to support troubled Toshiba and that it will share information with Washington about Toshiba and its bankrupt US nuclear division. Japanese and Russian officials meet to discuss ways to jointly develop the islands off Hokkaido they both claim. South Korea asks the World Trade Organization to review Chinese sanctions against Korean companies relating to its deployment of THAAD. South Korea’s SK Engineering & Constructions partners with Turkey’s UNIT International to win multi-billion dollar power plant construction project in Iran. Energy firms urge Indonesian government to enhance its policies in the upstream and downstream oil and gas sectors.

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