MNCs in the News*
October 31st, 2017
At 19th Party Congress, China promises greater market openness for foreign investors, but foreign businesses and governments cautious. Top China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) official says foreign banks may get more latitude in entering and operating in China’s banking sector. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) plummeted 41.9 percent over the first nine months of 2016 year-over-year. In the first three quarters of 2016, Chinese outward merger and acquisitions activity drops significantly in both deal volume and size. Toyota and Mazda seek USD $1 billion incentive package from US states bidding for their joint car factory. SoftBank Group struggling to carry out US investments after several of its deals have been caught up in the CFIUS review process. US Department of Justice demands Kobe Steel release all information related to it falsified steel and metal data. SK-Sinopec JV to expand its Wuhan Petrochemical plant mirroring success of SK Innovation’s China Insider strategy. Korean battery manufacturers finding backdoors into the Chinese market despite Chinese government’s preferential treatment of domestic firms. Indonesia works to attract private investment despite bad atmosphere created by problems with Freeport-McMoran. Freeport-McMoRan facing labor union protests over anticipated layoffs. New US-Thai joint committee formed to increase bilateral investment following Thai Prime Minister’s recent US visit. Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industries leads trade mission to Europe to attract German investment. MITI reports a decline in investments this year. Vietnamese government begins implementing its divestment plan for Dung Quat Oil Refinery, attracts foreign investors. Foreign brewers eagerly awaiting Vietnamese government’s divestment plans for country’s largest domestic brewer Sabeco.
October 17th, 2017
American businesses not uniformly in favor of Washington moving aggressively against China about the latter’s intellectual property right (IPR) violations. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) approves HP-Samsung printer deal subject to conditions. China’s high-speed rail project in Thailand off track due to environmental approval issues. Sinopec to sell Argentine oil assets and incur major losses in the process. Denso Corp. announces plans for USD $1 billion EV plant in Tennessee, designed to meet changing government automobile and environmental demands. Toyota reaffirms intent to build new Auris in UK, provided the British government avoids hard Brexit deal. Chinese investment in South Korea drops due Chinese government restrictions, hitting the South Korean economy. Korean retailers to shift from China to Southeast Asia as business and political tensions between Korea and China show no signs of improvement. Indonesia needs foreign investment to develop 30 ports and airports and Jakarta is supporting great foreign investment through deregulation and other measures. Indonesian and Belgian firms sign three infrastructure development memoranda of understanding to profit from Indonesia’s attractiveness. Sumitomo forms Thai real estate market joint venture (JV) to profit from the Thai government development of the country’s infrastructure. Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly approves new Eastern Economic Corridor stimulus bill in a move to attract foreign investment. Malaysian government attracts Chinese firm to build USD $3 billion steel production plant in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Vietnam attracted over USD $25 billion in foreign direct investment in the first three quarters of this year owing to its political stability. Asian investors turning to Vietnam for expansion opportunities as domestic markets shrink and Hanoi opens key industries to investors.
October 10th, 2017
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) spokesperson stresses that China’s industrial policies will not discriminate against foreign firms. China’s favoritism towards state-owned enterprises (SOEs) not only pressures domestic firms, put foreign companies, too. Bain led consortium still hopes to conclude Toshiba deal despite litigation by competing bidder Western Digital. Chinese authorities announce Honda will recall over 245,000 vehicles in China because of concerns about Takata made air bags. China’s MOFCOM allows HP Inc. to buy Samsung Electronics’ printer business subject to certain restrictions. Samsung and LG to invest in US production facilities to avoid Trump administration protectionist tariffs and setbacks. Tesla Motors to increase investment in Korean electric vehicle infrastructure because of recent changes in Korean government subsidy policies. Only 27 percent of foreign investment pledges for Indonesia fulfilled in the last 10 years causing Indonesian government to undertake corrective action. Freeport-McMoran rejects Indonesian government’s latest divestment plan. Singha Estate Plc announces USD $1.5 billion project spurred by Thai and Maldivian governments’ efforts to promote tourism in both countries. Honeywell first multinational company to participate in the Malaysian Investment Development Authority’s Principle Hub Initiative. Moody’s calls attention to fact that tensions on Korean peninsula may seriously affect Korean investment in Vietnam. Vietnam’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry to host events to attract more Japanese investment.
October 4th, 2017
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) notes possibility China may expand its negative list approach nationwide as early as 2018. State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) representatives encourage foreign investors to partake in China’s mixed-ownership reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). At the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States (US) asks China to hold off implementing its cybersecurity law. US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States opposition torpedoes Chinese bid to take a 10 percent stake in Dutch mapping company. Kobe Steel Ltd and US Steel Corp. to launch US joint venture to produce steel needed to build cars that meet their respective governments’ tightening emissions standards. Sumitomo has invested in Taiwanese electric scooter maker Gogoro to tap Gogoro’s advanced electronic battery technologies which are in increasing demand due to rising environmental standards. Unilever acquires Carver Korea as Korean makeup brand weakens due to declining sales in China resulting from THAAD tensions. Despite suffering from China’s THAAD related sanctions, Hyundai opens big data center in China to tap Chinese government’s promotion of connected cars. Indonesia's Transportation Ministry opens 12 infrastructure projects worth a total of USD $3 billion to foreign investors. Indonesia’s Indika Energy raises stake in large local coal producer after forced Freeport-McMorRan divesture and new Indonesian government policies drive Korea’s Samtan to reduce its stake in the country. Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance says equitisation progress of state-owned enterprises so far disappointing. World Bank and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade collaborate to implement solar projects pilot auction program.
September 25th, 2017
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) promises measures to create a better environment for foreign direct investment (FDI). China courts foreign investment in its energy sector to advance its reform initiatives. European Union (EU) Chamber of Commerce in China releases position paper detailing many areas of concern among its members about China’s policies towards inward FDI (IFDI). Chinese expresses concern about possible implications of proposed EU wide investment screening scheme. Toshiba selects consortium to take over its politically contentious USD $21 billion semiconductor business. Prime Minister May visits Japan as Japanese firms become more hesitant about continued investment in Britain due to Brexit’s slow and uncertain progress. Economic and security concerns prompt Korea’s Industry Ministry to review investment plans by South Korean semiconductor and display companies seeking expansion in China. State-owned Korea Electric Corp. represents South Korea in a bid to build Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear energy plant. Indonesia’s demand for steel is expected to rise substantially within the decade, triggering calls to improve investment conditions for steel producers. Foreign investment in Indonesian startups reaches USD $3 billion so far this year with Chinese FDI patterns shaped by government initiatives. New Thai Digital Park proposed, opening new potential vistas for foreign investors. Sumitomo Corporation starts construction third industrial park in Vietnam with Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister calling for best possible conditions for investors. With central government support, Hanwha Techwin to open first of three Vietnamese aircraft engine parts factories early next year.
September 19th, 2017
China’s potentially massive electric car market and regulatory pressure charge up foreign auto firms’ willingness to share technology and invest in the sector. China plans to blacklist and potentially punish blacklisted Chinese outward investors that become “discreditable.” National security concerns lead American President Donald Trump to crunch Lattice chip’s sale to Chinese buyer. The European Commission has come up with a pan-European measure to vet Chinese investments in the European Union (EU). Thailand’s military junta assures Japanese investors proposed plan for USD $45 billion injection into Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor will go ahead regardless of the results of the next election. Suzuki Motor partnering with Toshiba and Denso to invest in electric vehicle facilities in India in line with the latter’s “Make in India” initiative and increasing demand for green mobility. Hyundai releases plans for electric vehicle manufacturing plant in India after Indian government pledges to ban sales of non-EV cars by 2030. South Korean retail giant Lotte Group has begun making plans to sell its China shops due to politically-related pressures in China. Asian Development Bank to support Indonesia’s energy sector. China’s expanded investment in Thailand raises local anxieties. The divestment of numerous Vietnamese SOEs has problematic features that discourage foreign investment. Southern Vietnamese province promoting investment in several industrial sectors through policy reforms and other initiatives.
September 13th, 2017
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission states China is moving to increase foreign involvement in the insurance sector. In conjunction with the latest BRICs meeting, State Grid of China touts its contribution to and presence in Brazil. Kawasaki Heavy Industries competing for USD $3.2 billion contract to build subway cars from New York’s state-run Metropolitan Transpiration Authority. Foxconn joins bidding process for Japanese chipmaker Toshiba’s USD $19.5 billion NAND memory technology. North Korea’s missile launch explodes USD $1.5 billion South Korea’s shipbuilding industry deal with foreign firm. Beijing Hyundai resumes operation at stalled Changzhou (China) facility, but the firm still faces many other challenges. Freeport McMoran to retain control over operations of Grasberg mine, with USD $750 million investment to be made next year. Indonesia urges APEC to boost cross-border investment by supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises. Thailand's small and medium-sized enterprises urged to invest in Mandalay, Myanmar because of favorable economic and political environments. Tien Phong Industrial Zone JSC and Russia’s Seaport of Azov sign memorandum of understanding to jointly build Vietnam-Russia Industrial Complex. South Korean investment in Vietnam continues to soar as tariffs reductions from the ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement slowly come into effect.
September 6th, 2017
China announces it is working on a document to enhance the protection of foreign intellectual property rights (IPR). Likely due to Brexit, Chinese delegations flock to Ireland to explore investment opportunities. Indian government asks Chinese smartphone makers to provide info that allows for investigation of security of Indian user data. United States government probing potential bribes paid by Sinopec’s Swiss unit Addax Petroleum to Nigerian government officials. British luxury carmaker Aston Martin announces Japanese investment deal worth nearly USD $600 million as Brexit looms closer. Nissan and Renault teaming up with Dongfeng to design and introduce new electric vehicles to the Chinese market, following China’s new strict emissions rules. Disrupted parts supply due to sluggish cash flow resulting from backlash against Hyundai for Korea’s deployment of THAAD system halts Hyundai’s China production. Samsung Electronics in talks with China for a USD $7 billion expansion of its Xi’an chip plant. Indonesia to finalize numerous deregulation measures aimed at creating more competitive investment environment. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. reduces its ownership stake in Indonesian Grasberg copper and gold mine to resolve long-running dispute with Indonesia’s central government. Mobike, Ofo, and oBike are striving to win the Thai market and working with the government to build a favorable operating environment. Nazir Razak says foreign investors like Malaysia’s robust economy, but are holding off because of uncertainties linked to upcoming election. Vietnam’s leaders recently concluded state visits to Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand resulting in USD $13.45 billion of newly registered investment capital. Hanoi General Export Import JSC and Hong Kong United Investors Holding join together on bid for infrastructure project contracts from the Vietnamese government.
August 30th, 2017
China’s State Council issues comprehensive guidelines in an effort to provide a more welcoming environment for inward foreign direct investment (FDI). Foreign firms increasingly fret about pressures to give more power to Chinese Communist Party organizations in their joint ventures. China’s Ministry of Commerce moves to restrain the sectoral and geographic destination of Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) while leaving the space for high-tech and Belt and Road Initiative OFDI. Chinese real estate firms will continue to have strong reasons for OFDI even though they have severely cut OFDI in 2017 due to government controls. Talks between Toshiba Corp. and government led consortium of American, South Korean, and Japanese investment entities break down. Russian moves to encourage investment on disputed Kuril Islands angers Japan. China sales by South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia down for the sixth month straight due to politics, market challenges and branding issues. China’s feud with South Korea over THAAD missile installation harming its own workers and firms. LG Electronics Inc. begins construction of USD $250 million home appliance manufacturing plant in the US following Trump administration’s move to foster a positive investment climate. Under siege at home, China’s Anbang Insurance Group struggling in South Korea and drawing more regulatory attention there. Indonesia’s PT Intra Asia signs memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s state-owned Coal and Resources department for USD $1 billion coal port. Trade delegation from the UK reaches out to Indonesian government in preparation for post-Brexit trade and investment agreements. Malaysia experiencing strong economic growth due to infrastructure projects the government is implementing across the country. PetroVietnam signs Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand’s Siam Cement Group’s chemical subsidiary to jointly build USD $5.4 billion petrochemical complex. Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment elaborates upon features of the country’s three new specialized special economic zones
August 23rd, 2017
China takes steps/promises measures to draw in more foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s State Council details a slew of initiatives to increase greater inward FDI (IFDI) as well as to foster specific types of IFDI. Donald Trump signs executive order authorizing US Trade Representative to decide whether or not to investigate China’s theft of American intellectual property. China’s Ministry of Commerce reports small drop in IFDI over the first seven months of 2017 year over year (YOY) while outward FDI drops dramatically over the first seven months of 2017 YOY. The Philippines is looking to Japan and China to finance investments in energy and power generation projects worth over USD $135 billion. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to expand operations in Saudi Arabia to support Saudi initiatives to reduce reliance on oil. Kumho Tire Co. to be bought out by its Chinese competitor Qingdao Doublestar Co. for USD $857 million after South Korean state-owned development bank sells its stake to Doublestar. Hyundai to promote Indonesia as Southeast Asian production base because of, among other things, the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement will remove car import duties in 2018. Indonesia and Vietnam to boost investment activity following 7th Indonesia-Vietnam Joint Commission on Economic, Science, and Technical Cooperation. Facebook opens full office in Indonesia due to tightening regulations on foreign Internet firms. Recent report touts that Malaysia’s strategic location and competitive position make it attractive for foreign investment. US deepening investigation into money stolen from Malaysian state investment fund allegedly used to obtain around USD $1.7 billion in real estate, jewelry and art.