MNCs in the News*
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.
March 27th, 2018
US companies dilute proposed legislation that might have dampened their exports to/sales in China of technology. 2018 China Enterprise Cross-Border M&A Special Report shows decline in both the number and volume of Chinese merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in 2017. China’s crackdown on CEFC Energy throws into uncertainty a proposed mega investment in Russia’s Rosneft. Japanese may loosen regulations on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Japanese broadcasters. Toshiba chip sale deal awaits regulatory approval from China. South Korea company wins multi-billion bridge building contract in Turkey. South Korea and Russian companies lay foundation for cooperation in building transportation and other infrastructure for Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry to sue American mining company Freeport McMoRan for massive environmental damages. Indonesian official embark on road show to bring more private FDI into the country’s underfunded infrastructure projects. Thai government alarms by announcing intention to change the country’s Foreign Business Act. Malaysia finalizes deal bringing USD $7 billion of Saudi FDI into the Pengerang Integrated Complex. UAE company will pour more than USD $1 billion to develop offshore Malaysian gas site. Vietnam’s State Audit Office slaps back taxes bill on just privatized former state-owned enterprises (SOE) Sabeco. Vietnam aims to divest major portion of PetroVietnam Gas to garner strategic investment and massive amounts of funds.
March 20th, 2018
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports small growth in inward foreign direct investment (FDI), albeit with significant growth in high-tech inward FDI (IFDI). United States (US) President Donald Trump likely to impose USD $60 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to transfer technology. China's financing for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) energy projects slows significantly in 2017. Chinese report that BRI projects are delivering living standard and work improvements to locals. Panasonic starts mass production of hybrid car batteries in China as Beijing's push for electric vehicles is expected to boost demand. JFTC raids Amazon's Japanese headquarters over suspicions that online retailing giant violated anti-trust regulations. Two Korean builders win order for a USD $740 million smart hospital project in Singapore. Kumho workers stage strike in protest of foreign ownership as Qingdao Doublestar acquires struggling South Korean tire company. Jokowi states that survey reveals that Indonesia ranks second when it comes to the world's attractive countries for investors. China has stated its intent to help fund and build what could become Indonesia's longest bridge. Honeywell repeats commitment to bring investment to and cooperate with Thailand given its plans fit the government's Thailand 4.0 vision. Mercedes-Benz and Thai JV partner to invest $123 million to build EV batteries in Thailand. Vietnamese authorities to review large foreign investment projects in the wake of withdrawal of USD $3.2 billion refinery and petrochemical project. Binh Duong province (Vietnam) grants 15 investment certificates for foreign firms investing in the region.
March 13th, 2018
China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) states China will improve noticeably market access and operating conditions for foreign direct investment (FDI) this year. American Chamber of Commerce in South China reports that number one concern of American businesses in China because of the is China's cybersecurity law. European Union (EU) may adopt legislation relating to inward FDI this year as a result of rising security concerns especially where Chinese FDI involved. Beijing's controls on outward Chinese FDI do not dent Fosun acquisition spree in clothing and luxury goods areas. Nissan in talks with Renault to acquire bulk of French state's 15 percent Renault stake. Japanese companies still waiting to see what happens with Great Britain's EU Brexit negotiations before deciding how to react to Brexit. GM Korea to ask Korean government to make its Korean factory sites foreign investment zones so it can get tax concessions. Doublestar reaches agreement with Korea Development Bank on purchase of 45 percent stake in Kumho Tire as union protests continue. Jakarta makes it easier to invest in energy and mineral sector by reducing regulations and licensing burdens. Prudential in talks with Malaysia's second largest pension fund to sell 30 percent stake in Malaysian unit following Malaysian central bank move to reduce foreign investment stakes. Telekom Malaysia signs memorandum of understanding with Huawei to work together on expanding fiber broadband network reach in Malaysia. Vietnam revokes investment license for foreign-owned oil refinery project. Legal expert says that foreign investors are interested in developing infrastructure projects in Vietnam including the North-South highway but hesitate because of legal problems.
March 6th, 2018
Apple stores key for accessing Chinese users iCloud data in China raising human rights and privacy concerns. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opposition causes Xcerra to terminate sale to Chinese investment fund. Chinese automakers not braking on their overseas expansion despite legal and regulatory issues facing outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Shanghai government takes over CEFC China Energy. Toyota to build next generation of Auris model cars in England despite worries about effect of Brexit. Kubota Corp. to spend over USD $3.1 billion on three new US production plants in a bid to mitigate foreign exchange risks and jump market barriers. Mounting pressure in the US to impose trade restrictions on various Korean-made products cause Samsung Electronics to consider more US based production facilities. Kumho Tire under pressure to find new majority shareholder given opposition to Chinese investment in a firm that operates defense businesses. Foreign investors charged up about investment opportunities in Indonesian electric vehicle battery sector because of the country's backward energy infrastructure and battery technology. Indonesia's BIBU plans to work with foreign partners/investors to build a new airport in Bali subject to Ministry of Transportation approval. Russia proposes joint innovation fund with Thailand to increase investment in technology. Najib Razak announces Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil and gas conglomerate Aramco will invest USD $7 billion into Malaysia before March 31. Vietnam approves Vietcombank's sale of a 10 percent stake to foreign investors as Hanoi rolls back restrictions on foreign investment in the sector.
February 26th, 2018
China to use mechanism of internationalization including inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in mixed ownership reform to enhance ability of state-owned enterprises. For 2018, Guizhou aims for $150 billion in investment money from outside the province including small and medium-sized enterprises from foreign countries. Chinese outward FDI in January 2018 jumps over same period a year earlier. Chinese government constraints on outward FDI become even tighter. Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata receives US court approval for its bankruptcy exit plan. Japanese steelmaker JFE Holdings concerned Trump's protectionist rhetoric could impede own investment plans to build US based plant. Korea Expressway Corporation signs MoU for Indian highway construction following agreement between Korean and Indian government to support USD $10 billion in Indian infrastructure. GM proposes investing USD $2.8 billion in its Korean operations, but calls for government assistance to maintain its remaining plants. Russian diversified energy holding company Inter Rao seeking to develop Indonesia's Bandar Kayangan Global Hub. Finance Minister says Indonesia to revise tax incentives to attract more investment. Thailand's government approaches Japanese robotics maker and other engineering manufacturers to build facilities along its EEC. Manila Water Company acquires 18.72 percent stake in Thailand's Eastern Water to enter Thailand's EEC. Thailand's Superblock Pcl plans to invest USD $1.76 billion to build wind farms in Vietnam in sync with Hanoi's renewables policy.
February 11th, 2018
Following the Mercedes-Benz Dalai Lama ad incident, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs asks foreign firms to follow "basic ground rules." China Banking Regulatory Commission promises steps to make it easier for foreign banks to do renminbi business in China. Google China works to win friends by searching for information about Chinese overseas investment opportunities and overseas brand successes. China's capital control have adversely impacted some Chinese investing in the technology sector in the United States. Nissan to invest USD $9.5 billion in China with JV partner Dongfeng Group as carmaker strives to exploit China's production quotas for EVs. MGM Resorts plans to set up integrated resort in Japan's Osaka Prefecture because it plans to establish tourism facilities. Hyundai finally on track to receive Chinese government subsidy for EVs after switching to Chinese battery manufacturers. Seoul Semiconductor files suit against Mouser Electronics for dispensing products that infringe upon patent held by it. Indonesia's investment board cites "frequent and abrupt changes in regulations" as major cause of foreign investor wariness when investing in Indonesia. UAE business delegation met with Indonesia's Industry Minister for preliminary talks for producing compressed natural gas in Indonesia. Thailand's parliament approves USD $45 billion EEC project to stimulate country's underdeveloped east. Nissan working with alliance partner Mitsubishi and Bangkok to produce electric cars and batteries in Thailand for export abroad. Malaysia expects more Chinese investment in real estate, manufacturing and logistics industries as Belt and Road Initiative funds find their way into the country. State run Saudi Aramco and Malaysia's state-owned Petronas are raising USD $8 billion to begin construction on planned Malaysia refinery and petrochemical complex. Edge Glass Joint Stock Company begins construction of USD $220 million Vietnam glass factory encouraged by favorable local government measures. US tax reforms causes Vietnam to worry about future foreign investment prospects.
February 6th, 2018
2018 China Business Climate Survey Report indicates "American companies overwhelmingly feel less welcome than before…and want the U.S. government to put more pressure on Beijing." American jury finds Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel of stealing trade secrets that cost American Superconductor Inc. $800 million. Australia tightens rules relating to sale of power and agricultural assets to foreign investors. United Arab Emirates' state-owned Abu Dhabi Oil Company to expand partnerships with Japanese petrochemical companies. Muji's China subsidiary maps out new catalog strategy after Beijing criticizes its portrayal of boundaries. POSCO E&C withdraws from project to build steel mill in Iran because of high political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Samsung Engineering resolves conflict with Omani government over USD $1 billion construction deal with Oman's state-owned refinery company Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company. Pertamina awards USD $10 billion refinery project to consortium of Omani and Japanese businesses. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group proposes to merge its Indonesian subsidiary with local Indonesian lender to take advantage of Jakarta's banking consolidation drive. Royal Dutch Shell sells control of Thai Bongkot gas field to Thailand's state-owned gas producer PTT Exploration and Production for USD $750 million after failed effort to sell to non-Thai buyer. Thailand's largest state-owned petrochemical company PTT Global Chemical partners with Korea's Daelim Industrial to build USD $5.7 billion petrochemical plant in Ohio. Alibaba Group partnering with Malaysian Government's Digital Economy Corporation to set up artificial intelligence traffic system in capital. Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas acquired 6 oil and gas blocks for undisclosed amount from Mexican government in recent auction. Four foreign investors registered to become strategic investors in Vietnam's GENCO 3 as the Hanoi seeks to offload shares of the company. PetroVietnam Gas looking to gain Hanoi's approval to divest 30 percent of its stock to a foreign strategic investor.
January 23rd, 2018
Various Chinese government agencies press foreign companies to ensure websites respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Shanghai consumer council not peachy about Apple's alleged old battery induced phone slowdown. China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announces that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) drops by almost 30 percent in 2017 year-over-year. US Congressmen urge AT&T to hang up interactions with Huawei leading China to call for level playing field. Mexico's state-owned oil provider Pemex selects Mitsui as partner for USD $2.6 billion coking plant. Mitsubishi partners with Vietnamese government to promote electric vehicles. South Korea's antitrust watchdog concludes Qualcomm must adhere to new requirements to complete its USD $38 billion NXP acquisition. South Korean companies increasingly turning to joint ventures to mitigate risk and reduce setbacks due to political turmoil. Indonesian government pushing for Saudi Arabian firms to invest USD $1.6 billion in new light rail transit line. Indonesian government wants to attract more foreign investment in its financial institutions. Thai government's incentives for eco-friendly cars drive Mazda to invest USD $357 million to upgrade its Rayong plant to produce hybrid electric vehicles. Thailand's BoI expects applications for foreign investment to increase to USD $22.6 due to improved political relationships with both US and EU. Malaysia's Permodalan Nasional and state-operated EPF plan to buy Britain's Battersea Power Station Project for USD $2.2 billion. Mitsubishi to expand its operations in Vietnam boosted by Vietnamese government incentives. Pending government approval, Amata Corporation plans to invest USD $485 million in Vietnam.
January 16th, 2018
China moving to make Free Trade Zones (FTZs) freer. China punishes Marriott over survey that lists Hong Kong, Macao, and Tibet as independent countries. Apple’s iCloud darkens as it transfers the service to a Chinese company that will operate it and keep all data in China. French Finance Minister welcomes Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in France provided it is not “looting.” President Donald Trump’s pressure seems to have driven Toyota and Mazda to select Alabama for USD $1.6 billion production facility. NEC acquires Northgate Public Services for USD $640 million following the British government’s promotion of digitalization. South Korea’s state-operated Korean Development Bank sets price floor on sale of struggling construction firm Daewoo Engineering & Construction. Hyundai invests in Singapore’s Grab in effort to expand in Southeast Asia and reduce reliance on the tumultuous China market. Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance to reevaluate investment attraction programs after no companies applied in 2017. Jakarta and Freeport-McMoRan seek to resolve by June a host of operational issues that plague the future of Grasberg mine. Nissan shortlists Thailand as possible location for Asia-Pacific EV manufacturing facility due to Thai investment incentives. Thai Minister says Chinese investment into country’s rubber plantations must be carefully considered and not impact local farmers. Johor Sultan invests USD $100 million in Sri Lanka’s first pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. New policy decree by Hanoi allows foreign enterprises to provide logistics services in Vietnam. Several of Vietnam’s efforts to divest state-owned enterprises at the end of 2017 did not catch much investor attention.