MNCs in the News*

September 6th, 2016
China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopts amendments that allow for the permanent suspension of four foreign investment related laws in the Fujian, Guangdong, Shanghai, and Tianjin Free Trade Zones (FTZ). China has decided to allow for the creation of six new provincial FTZs as well as one municipal level FTZ, with each place expected to play to its features and comparative advantages. The European Chamber of Commerce in China asserts China’s market barriers are politically unsustainable. China’s Ministry of Commerce confirms to reporters that it is investigating the proposed Didi-Uber merger. British Prime Minister Theresa May confirms she would have her National Security Council examine the potential security implications of China’s participation in the massive Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project. Japan pledges USD $30 billion investment in Africa at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Japanese trading firms find electrifying power project opportunities in Africa. Korean free economic zones are not achieving the anticipated results. Indonesian state-owned enterprises seek funding from multiple sources to fund the country’s massive infrastructure plans. Vietnam and Cuba aim to boost bilateral investment flows.
August 29th, 2016
Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States clears ChemChina’s massive acquisition of Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta. Indonesia awards Chinese consortium construction permit for the full length of a USD $5 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway line. Sino-Vietnamese tensions over the South China Sea have affected the operations of Chinese firms in Vietnam, but many Chinese businesspeople still feel Vietnam has investment appeal. Huawei works with Nigerian government to advance the latter’s national ICT objectives. Malaysia’s Sarawak is working on creating an appealing physical ecosystem to ensure it remains one of the favorite investment destinations for foreign investors.
August 22nd, 2016
China’s Foreign Ministry downplays worries about its cybersecurity law. Apple launches numerous initiatives to enhancing its operating environment in China. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) asserts its rights to review Didi Chuxing-Uber Technologies China merger for potential antitrust issues. Second Australian rejection of a major Chinese investment this year spurs MOFCOM to warn Australia of consequences and to call upon the latter to create a better investment environment. Iran courts increased Chinese investment and prods China for greater involvement in the latter’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) scheme. Korea’s Ministry of Environment will conduct a major investigation to find out if other foreign carmakers falsified emissions and noise level test data. Seoul’s Central District Prosecutors’ Office grills second Volkswagen Korea executive over allegations the company illegal changed car parts to pass emission tests. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission concludes that Google Korea’s preloaded apps and subsidies for search ads did not restrict market competition. Korea is moving to deal with map data requests from global companies. The Malaysian government continues to support the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor, with foreign investment representing 40 percent of the money committed to the project. Vietnam’s realized inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) flows fall far below committed IFDI.
August 9th, 2016
Analysts speculate on the economic and political factors that drove the new British government to delay a decision on the Hinkley Point C project. Some conjecture British Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed the project due to national security considerations. Chinese government urges British government to move forward with Hinkley Point decision and hints at possible adverse consequences for relationship. France awards CGN one of its first industrial-scale offshore floating wind power projects. South Korea’s environmental ministry bans the sales and cancels certifications of 80 Volkswagen models over VWs fraudulent emissions and noise tests. South Korea’s National Tax Service Seoul Regional Office launches a tax probe into the Korean affiliate of Huawei Technologies Co. for possible tax evasion. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is confident of reaching its realized inward FDI (FDI) investment goals for 2016 because of its fast-track permitting process. BKPM chief downplays possibility that the South China Sea dispute will affect FDI flows, including from China, into Indonesia. Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister emphasizes the country plans to ensure all investors in the energy sector obey the country’s laws and rules. Thai oil and gas conglomerate PTT PLC says it is still in the process of developing a massive refinery and petrochemical plant in Vietnam. Registered inward FDI (IFDI) into Vietnam over the first seven months of 2016 soars over the same period year-over-year (YOY).
July 25th, 2016
Inward FDI into China grew slowly over the first six months of 2016 year-over-year. The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s unfavorable ruling against China’s South China Sea claims sparks protests and boycott calls against American “icons” in China to the chagrin of the Chinese government. A Chinese consortium’s effort to buy the entire Opera Software company falls apart reportedly due to a failure to get sufficient Chinese government approvals. Japanese official travels to Singapore to tout the advantages of Japan high speed rail system for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail project. South Korea’s Fair Trust Commission watchdog relaunches investigation into Google Inc.’s requirement that smartphone makers using its Android operating system preload its search engine. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is conducting a roadshow in Guangzhou to tout the country’s improving investment environment. Indonesia is working to help investors surmount problems that hinder them from realizing their investments and has developed special initiatives. The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is working on getting more companies to participate in its principle hub scheme. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister calls on his country to be more selective in its FDI attraction efforts and to work on getting better FDI.
July 21st, 2016
China’s State Administration of Taxation has issued new guidelines for evaluating domestic and foreign companies’ tax performance. Under pressure, IKEA agrees to massive recall of Malm products in China. Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. stops producing the iEV6s sport utility vehicle featuring Samsung SDI’s batteries because the Chinese government did not approve the Samsung SDI battery possibly to retaliate against South Korea’s decision to accept the THAAD system. American Enterprise Institute analysis finds large percentages of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016 are for mergers & acquisitions, by private firms, and going to the US. China to make good on its promise to invest $2.21 billion in European Fund for Strategic Investments. For some, Chinese investments in film sector raise questions about China’s impact on film distribution and content. After Brexit, Japanese car makers forced to revisit the logic of their investments in the United Kingdom. Korea’s Ministry of Environment will impose a series of harsh penalties against Volkswagen for the latter’s fraud regarding noise and gas emission data. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission is likely to impose a nearly $900 million fine on Qualcomm for the latter’s abusive technology licensing practices. Indonesian government seeks billions of dollars in investment to help develop tourist zones. Vietnamese government targets greater tourism sector investment. Vietnam seeks foreign investment to plug it highway system funding gap.
July 14th, 2016
Apple struggles to ensure China does not turn into a lemon. Walmart workers in China take widespread action against the company’s new working hours system. British Trade Ministry touts that losing pounds is good for Chinese investors. China Road and Bridge Co. wins first state project awarded to a Chinese company since new government came to power in Myanmar. Chinese banks work to bolster risk management and compliance abilities as they expand overseas. Japanese financial firms licensed in London forced to consider whether they should relocate elsewhere in the European Union (EU). After massacre in Dhaka, Japan’s Fast Retailing Co. suspends all but critical travel to Bangladesh. South Korea begins investigation of Ford Motor’s Explorer for possible leakage of exhaust fumes inside the vehicle. GM Korea is under the microscope in Korea because of repeated bribery/corruption scandals and selling inferior quality cars. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges the government to take action to allow for full implementation of its policy packages. Contemporary Korean investment in Vietnam represents a third wave of Korean investment in the country.
July 4th, 2016
At the Annual Meeting of Champions, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stresses the value of foreign direct investment (FDI) and China’s plans to create a better environment for them. Some fret Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn will complicate LinkedIn’s position in China. China’s State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) reports that China’s state-owned enterprises are increasing their outward activities. Huawei still plans to go forward with multi-billion dollar U.K. investment despite Brexit. Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail bid to open next year and likely will feature strong competition between Chinese and Japanese firms. Coming into effect of Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement opens up new opportunities for European law firms to set up joint ventures (JVs) with Korean ones. End of sanctions and high-level summits create opportunities for Doosan heavy Industries & Construction in seawater desalination sector in Iran. Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) to help American firms explore opportunities in Indonesia’s mining and infrastructure sectors. BKPM Chairman Franky Sibarani does not see Brexit affecting British investment in Indonesia. Registered FDI in Vietnam continues to show impressive growth with strong increases in FDI flowing into the manufacturing and processing sectors. Vietnam’s Ministry of Education and Training works to create a better environment for education investing in Vietnam.
June 23rd, 2016
China’s inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) shows a slight decline in May year-over-year (YOY), though the figures for the first five months of 2016 showed a moderate increase (YOY). Chinese Premier Li Keqiang tells German officials and executives that China plans to improve the investment environment for them as well as others. In China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel calls for independent judiciary and level playing field for foreign firms. XpressWest unilaterally terminates its contract with China Railway International for the construction of a high-speed railway linking Las Vegas and Los Angeles. China National Chemical Corp. (ChemChina) resubmits its Syngenta deal to the Committee on Foreign Investments in the U.S. for national security review. South Korean investigators descend on Lotte Group in connection with allegations of a slush fund. Korea and Azerbaijan agree to expand economic cooperation in areas like investment and infrastructure. South Korea plans to reform government-run energy companies to improve their financial soundness and operating efficiency. Indonesia and Japanese oil giant Inpex reach a deal on the multi-billion dollar Masela onshore liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant which may bring more new opportunities for Japanese business to invest in Indonesia. Japanese firms look very favorably upon Vietnam as an investment destination.
June 18th, 2016
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed to global CEO’s that his government would be acting to create a better environment for foreign investors. Xiaomi strikes a deal to buy roughly 1500 patents from Microsoft. Political uncertainties surrounding the US presidential election expected to lead Chinese firms to become more cautious about investing in the US. United States (US) Commerce Department gives a subpoena to Huawei Technologies as part of a probe in the latter’s exports or re-exports of US technology. Alibaba says it is cooperating with a US Securities and Exchange Commission probe into its accounting practices. Newly elected Philippines’’ President Rodrigo Duterte states that he would welcome Chinese bids on two major railway projects despite bilateral tensions. Japan’s Transport Ministry raids the headquarters of Suzuki Motor Corp. as part of an investigation into the validity of the company’s fuel economy tests. Mitsubishi Materials settles case of World War II slave laborers. Mitsui is cooperating with the Malaysian government on the massive Iskandar Malaysia project. A Japanese-Indonesian consortium Bhimsena Power Indonesia will move forward on a long-delayed coal-fired power plant in Indonesia. Nissan corporate headquarters will file an administrative litigation against the South Korean government for actions taken by the Korean Ministry of the Environment against it. Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction wins a 460 billion won deal from Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water to build a desalination plant. Experts criticize the implementation of Indonesia’s 12 reform packages. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) touts the positive effects of its new investment licensing service, but challenges remain. BKPM pleased by Japanese interest in multi-billion dollar projects. Uber seeks Thai Transport ministry approval for its drivers. Experts call upon the Vietnamese government to tighten environmental regulations for FDI projects.

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