Hot Topics for MNCs, Cool Analysis*
July 4th, 2018
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) unveils new nationwide negative list which opens about 17 more sectors and reduces various restrictions. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) and NDRC released a revamped negative list for foreign direct investment (FDI) in China’s free trade zones (FTZs) that has some better features than nationwide negative list. United States apparently to go with enhanced Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review process rather than establish mechanisms that specifically focused on restraining Chinese FDI. Nissan picks Thailand as first export market for new hybrid cars which may lead to local production if results and investment incentives are attractive. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation signs memorandum with Thailand’s governmental agency that the latter hopes will boost FDI. Samsung’s managing leaders recently convened to discuss a growing “China problem” as company confronts various political and regulatory problems. Taiwan’s GlobalWafers intends to follow through on USD $450 million Korean production facility amid increased Sino-US trade tensions. Malaysian government optimistic that investors’ confidence will be restored partly due to Prime Minister Mahathir’ effort to court FDI. Survey reveals Japanese companies interested in setting up manufacturing bases in Malaysia and are looking to invest in new sectors.
June 25th, 2018
China to release two enhanced negative list for inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in July. Australia keeps hanging up on Huawei despite the latter’s efforts to gain new business opportunities. British officials seem reluctant to let a Chinese-owned British firm’s deal for a small airplanes part maker take off. Warming political relations between China and India provide a fertile environment for the growth of Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) in Indian start-ups. Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association stresses Japanese carmakers’ investment contribution to the US in move to undermine criticism from President Donald Trump. Japan’s financial regulator tells Japanese banks to report suspicious money transfers involving ten Japan-North Korea joint ventures. Chinese government to give LG Display approval to launch USD $6.7 billion OLED plant in Guangzhou, though partnerships with Chinese competitors may be required. SK Engineering & Construction signs letter of intent with Manila on USD $2 billion investment plan for environmentally friendly coal-fired power plants. Mahathir says Malaysia could extend new tax incentives for foreign investment in areas such as technology and research and development. Malaysia seeks to recoup USD $4.5 billion of funding that was potentially lost through 1MDB corruption scandal
June 18th, 2018
Investigation reveals Foxconn factory in China supplying Amazon products has serious problems regarding labor conditions. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) for first five month of 2018 shows impressive growth over 2017. China’s SF Motors drives ahead in effort to build electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Indiana (United States). Fears about potential Chinese dominance lead Vietnam to protest their government’s special economic zones plan. Japanese firms making own deals with American states that “go their own way” in pursuing investment opportunities. Mexico’s Economy Minister visiting Japan as country seeks to diversify investment and exports amid NAFTA talks impasse. Korean firm announces $1.7 billion investment plan for liquefied natural gas infrastructure in Philippines following President Duterte’s recent Seoul visit. South Korean construction companies forming task forces and planning investments in North Korea following US and North Korea summit. Mahathir set to “woo investors and offer business deals” during recent Japan visit. Malaysian state Perak to cooperate with EU to strengthen investment cooperation.
June 13th, 2018
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announces two new negative lists will be put forth by end of June. China’s State Administration of Market Regulation probes foreign chipmakers because of concerns about rising memory chip prices. In response to charges regarding the debt burdens on participant countries flowing from the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s MOFCOM denies forcing projects on anyone and touts the benefits of its BRI. Development of controversial Chinese development around Sri Lanka’s Hambantota port progresses with selection of planning consultancy. British government and Hitachi agree to begin full-scale negotiations on potential construction of nuclear power plant in Wales after settling on cost sharing. Japan to offer generous loan terms to more businesses in order to reach 2020 target of USD $2.5 billion in infrastructure exports. Philippines authorities in midst of processing four letters of intent from South Korean firms representing potential $4.4 billion in energy investment. Suspicious payments of $2 billion by previous Najib government to China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau under investigation by Malaysian authorities. Indian federal investigators have filed criminal charges against AirAsia India, partly owned by Malaysia’s AirAsia, for “conspiracy” involving bribes to policymakers to change regulations.
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.