MNCs in the News*
June 4th, 2018
China’s inward foreign direct investment (FDI) shows growth with especially impressive growth in high-tech areas like medical equipment manufacturing. Slew of political factors conspiring to dampen Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) to the United States (US). European parliament pushing increased reviews of FDI, partly due to surge of Chinese OFDI in Europe. China’s first report on central state-owned enterprises (SOEs) corporate social responsibility (CSR) argues their efforts go unnoticed and that they are doing a good job in environmental protection. Japanese contractors blindsided by Malaysia’s decision to scrap planned USD $14.8 billion high-speed rail link from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. Government representatives of China, Japan and Thailand announce intentions to pursue business collaboration in Eastern Economic Corridor. General Motors’ $7 billion rescue plan for South Korean plants in jeopardy because of threat of Trump tariffs on foreign cars and car parts. Hanwha Q CELLS Korea signs memorandum of understanding with Whitfield County government to construct solar module production facility. Mahathir announces reconsideration of terms of USD $14 billion rail deal involving Chinese partners to prioritize reducing country’s ballooning national debt. Malaysia’s state-owned Petronas to become second-largest partner in Canadian liquefied natural gas export project by buying 25 percent stake.
May 28th, 2018
China’s State Council moves to spread best practices from China’s Free Trade Zones (FTZs) elsewhere in China. Muji hung out again for its improper treatment of the Taiwan issue. In Beijing, German Chancellor Angela Merkel warns of further potential restrictions on Chinese investment in the absence of reciprocity. Fears of having to disclose details of loans for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) spur Chinese financial institutions to continue to bank on Pakistan. Motivated by forthcoming regulatory changes, Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. to buy 37.5 percent stake in state-backed Chinese life insurer. Nissan and Renault reviewing tie-up driven by French Government. Trump’s cancellation of US-North Korea summit dashes hopes of lifting international sanctions against North Korea and jumpstarting inter-Korean projects. South Korean electric battery firms charged up as China Association of Automobile Manufacturers’ whitelist highlights capabilities of Korean batteries. Chinese investors pledge to continue investing in Malaysia given new government offers conducive business environment and political stability. Foreign investors increasingly concerned about Malaysia’s fiscal health as national debt is far higher than previously revealed.
May 23rd, 2018
Gap struggles to find its way with respect to T-shirt sold in China featuring criticized map. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) shows large overseas investment results since 2013. Chinese lithium firm moves forward on deal to take major stake in Chilean lithium producer despite potential government opposition. Seizing opportunities created by China’s BRI, Wu Yi plans to construct an approximately $100 million industrial park in Kenya. First jointly built container port involving public and private sectors of both Japan and Vietnam opens in Vietnam’s Haiphong. Chinese officials increase visits to Japanese corporations to court greater investment. Chinese workers at South Korea’s Lotte Mart affiliate in Beijing stage sit-ins to protest Lotte’s decision to back out of Chinese market. Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister pledges to work with South Korean firms to boost incoming investment. Malaysia’s new Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad vowed to reassess all large infrastructure projects with Singapore. Mitsui and Mitsubishi Estate partner with Malaysia’s Sime Darby Property to build and manage industrial facilities with development cost of $133 million
May 16th, 2018
Apple denies taking a bite out of its customers. Official Chinese data indicate that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) grew healthily in the 1st quarter of 2018. China Three Gorges charges up to take full control of Portugal’s EDP which is drawing political scrutiny. Chinese investment in Malaysia big election issue. British government proposes USD $18.2 billion in loans for Hitachi’s Wales nuclear plant. Uniqlo to enter Indian market in fall 2019 as Indian government initiatives attract foreign retailers to the country. General Motors to move Asia-Pacific headquarters to South Korea to show Seoul commitment to its revitalized Korean operations. Elliot seeking legal action against Korean government for USD $670 million it claims to have lost from merger of two Samsung affiliates. Mahathir says Malaysia may renegotiate some deals with China following his coalition’s victory.
May 8th, 2018
China’s financial sector opening seems to be bearing fruit in terms of catalyzing applications by foreign firms to enter the China market. China’s liberalization of its aircraft sector giving flight to new opportunities for foreign companies in the aviation industry. In partnership with Irish development authorities, Chinese pharmaceutical firm makes major greenfield investment in Ireland. Chinese accountancy expands in the United Kingdom (UK) to service growing China-UK investment and trade. Hitachi considering Taiwan plant as Asian hub after winning bid for Taiwan Power offshore wind turbines project. Japanese traders competing to expand poultry businesses by importing from abroad after Japanese ministry sanctioned the import of Turkish chicken. Korean battery manufacturers such ramping up investment in China in preparation for the end of Beijing’s electric vehicle subsidy. Following historic summit between the two Koreas began plans for joint development projects and South Korean investment into the North. Arkema and CJ CheilJedang to invest over USD $300 million in Malaysian Kerteh Biopolymer Park as Malaysian, French and Korean authorities jointly promote facility.
May 1st, 2018
Foreign car makers hope China will speed up the auto reform parts that they desire. Puma hopping to consider other production venues if United States (US) imposes tariffs on shoes and apparel made in China. India does not offer support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting. Toyota to sell Chinese partner’s electric vehicle in China to pave way for introducing own models next year. Itochu pulling out of Turkish nuclear power plant project due to surge in safety-related costs. General Motors reaches last minute deal with labor union and South Korean government to save Korean operations. State-owned Korea National Oil Corporation looking to sell Canadian Harvest oil field to repay debts incurred by its Canadian subsidiary. Opponent of incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister vows to reconsider Chinese contracts if elected. KWAP may consider stake in IAG if Prudential cannot met Malaysian central bank mandate that foreign insurers reduce ownership stakes to 70 percent.
April 23rd, 2018
China to roll out new negative lists for free-trade zones (FTZs) and other parts of the country during the first half of 2018. Foreign and publicly-listed on foreign exchanges Chinese firms move to accommodate Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s desire for greater say. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) touts that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) grew while Chinese outward FDI in irrational areas has collapsed. Chinese investors pour money into American bio-tech firms for a variety of financial, political, and social policy reasons. Indonesia to rely on loans from Japanese government and public-private partnership schemes to fund USD $4.5 billion railway project. Honda experiencing complications with its CR-V recall plan in China as sales continue to drop. Seoul offers to give American carmaker General Motors USD $470 million to continue its Korean operations as bankruptcy looms. Multinational companies operating in South Korea increasingly under government scrutiny for malpractice. AIIB very interested in financing Malaysian infrastructure projects following a meeting between the AIIB President and Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Japan’s Nichirei Corp acquires 40 percent stake in Malaysia’s state-owned Cold Chain Network which facilitates the latter’s effort to address government development objectives.
April 16th, 2018
Observers believe China’s financial sector liberalization will draw in foreign investors and help internationalize the renminbi. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) expects outward foreign direct investment (FDI) to show good growth for the first quarter of 2018. China “insures” insurance sector will have new openings for foreign investors. Chinese outward FDI in the United States (US) showed massive drop from 2016 to 2017 for various political and economic reasons. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2017 jumps with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) a favored place for Chinese M&A. Troubled Takata says its acquisition by Key Safety Systems has been completed and the deal has received antitrust and bankruptcy court approvals in several countries. Ghana’s Finance Minister says African countries looking to Japan, among other Asian countries, to tap into abundant investment resources to fund Africa’s development needs. The Chinese government’s latest list of subsidy eligible electric vehicles continues to exclude South Korean battery firms. GM Korea has deadline of April 20th to submit restructuring plans for South Korean operations to government bodies. Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone forecasted to attract over USD $200 million through investments on infrastructure, systems, and equipment over next three years. IHH Healthcare Bhd suggests it would spend up to USD $1.3 billion to acquire India’s Fortis Healthcare Ltd even though India’s fraud commission is investigating the company.
April 11th, 2018
Beijing’s market competition regime exerts increasing effect on global merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and foreign firm operations in China. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) put severe constraints on Japan’s SoftBank as a condition of its acquisition of US investment group Fortress last year. Toshiba Corp. to miss March deadline to sell USD $19 billion flash memory division due to complications with China’s anti-trust regulators. Kumho Tire to finalize sale agreements with Qingdao Doublestar following its union’s vote on the sale. Lotte Group reaffirms its decision to exit its Chinese operations after China’s State Councillor pledged China would support smooth sales of Lotte Mart’s Chinese stores. Turkey’s Hitay Holdings repeats pledge to develop USD $1 billion geothermal power plant in Indonesia’s Aceh province. Indonesia’s investment board announces removal of foreign capital restrictions on investment in university and other educational ventures. Thai investors criticized for their impact on locals and the environment in Cambodia and Myanmar. Malaysia to evaluate market impact of Uber’s move to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Singapore’s Grab. Malaysia’s state-owned energy utility company Tenaga Nasional secures USD $168.77 million to refinance its 80 percent stake in two UK wind energy companies. Foreign investment in Vietnam increases due to country’s increasingly open investment environment.
April 3rd, 2018
China responds to United States (US) World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint that its technology licensing practices are not WTO compliant. Washington considers new mechanisms for reviewing and limiting Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) into the US technology sector. The Head of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board welcomes Chinese FDI as the country moves to improve its ability to minimize any related security threats. Takeda considering takeover of Irish drugmaker Shire as Japanese government seeks to tackle rising healthcare costs for its aging population. Softbank Vision Fund and Saudi Arabia to boost solar production in the Arab country. Tirebank intends to acquire Korean company Kumho Tire from Korea Development Bank because of frictions between Kumho’s workers union and Chinese buyer Doublestar. Renegotiation of South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement causes Hyundai to move production of its new pick-up truck model from Korea to the US. Pertamina reports it secured a contract with the Iranian government to take an 80 percent stake in Mansouri oil field. Jakarta put forth simplified tax holiday scheme in bid to boost investment in the country. Thailand approves USD $7.22 billion high-speed rail project to link three airports. Japanese electric vehicle producers flocking to Thailand in the wake of government promotion packages. Joint venture between Malaysia’s Yinson Holdings and PetroVietnam ordered to stop operations in Vietnamese offshore oil field due to Chinese pressure. InvestKL on track to bring in 100 multinational corporations by 2020. Hanoi announces list of sectors that would be prioritized to receive Japanese high-technology and investment. New Franco-Vietnamese investment deals signed as Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary visits France.