MNCs in the News*
August 22nd, 2017
Beijing’s actions to curb overseas foreign direct investment (FDI) by private firms coupled with other factors generate uncertainty among potential Western investment targets. American credit/debit card companies Visa and MasterCard move to gain access to China market, but licensing uncertainties remain. Nissan to sell battery subsidiary to Chinese private equity firm, following recent Chinese government policy changes on purchase of batteries for electric vehicles. Facing pressure to invest in US, Toyota and Mazda plan USD $1.6 billion partnership to establish US based electric vehicle production plant. SK Engineering & Construction Co. announces deal to upgrade Iranian oil plant, reflecting Teheran’s bid to bring in foreign companies to boost its oil industry. Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Samsung Engineering win mega construction projects in Oman. Vale Indonesia experiencing difficulties finding nickel smelter partners for new investments after rule change. Indonesian President courting China for investment but concurrently preparing the military for potential confrontation. EXIM Thailand plans to open new branches in Cambodia and Laos to support outward FDI by Thai firms. China and Malaysia launch USD $13 billion rail project connecting peninsular Malaysia's East and West. Mitsubishi’s CEO tells Vietnamese Prime Minster it plans to produce electric vehicles in Vietnam. Long Son Petrochemical Co Ltd announces Hyundai Engineering and Construction won building contract for petrochemical plant in Vietnam.
August 8th, 2017
Donald Trump administration contemplates using Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act to challenge China’s technology transfer and intellectual property right protection practices. Foreign businesses increasingly fret about the burdens to be flowing from China’s rejection of non-approved virtual private networks (VPNs) and other data controls/restrictions. China’s Ministry of Finance issues a guideline to limit risk of overseas investments by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Foxconn Technology Group announces major planned investment in the United States (US) to do R&D work relating to self-driving vehicles perhaps due to Trump’s efforts to bring more manufacturing to the US. Workers at Nissan’s Mississippi factory vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. Japan’s JFE Holdings Inc. considers further investment into India’s JSW Steel Ltd as a way to profit from increased steel demand potentially flowing from Indian Prime Minister Modi’s economic plans. South Korean firms struggle in the Middle East due to government indifference and rising political tensions. South Korea’s LA Cable & System signs USD $195 million contract with Qatar’s state owned utilities firm. Jakarta focuses on simplifying investment application process for foreign firms seeking investment licenses. Indonesia’s government will start taking bids in September for construction of six massive geothermal power plants. Thailand and Australia discuss revising the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement to increase investment and trade. Indian Oil Corp Ltd in talks with partners to search for cheaper location for Pacific Northwest LNG terminal after recent withdrawal of Petronas. South Korea’s Lotte signs Eco-Smart city development contract with Vietnam’s People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam’s Prime Minister confirms that creation of Vietnam’s first three special economic zones would enjoy special rules to attract greater investment.
August 2nd, 2017
The China Banking Regulatory Commission moves to allow foreign banks to purchase Chinese lenders through a locally incorporated subsidiary. Analysis claims China is cracking down on acquisitive private actors, so-called “Grey Rhinos,” because of risks they pose to the Chinese economy. The United Kingdom is moving to tighten its foreign investment regime partly to deal with investors like China which have been investing in sensitive areas. Toyota to produce electric vehicles in Thailand to take advantage of various economic incentives. Consortium led by government sponsored Innovation Network Corp. of Japan announces final bid for Toshiba's flash memory division. South Korea following up on USD $10 billion infrastructure development deal with India. Recent data reveals Korean companies increased spending on US lobbying after inauguration of US President Donald Trump. Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board says Singapore remains largest investor in Indonesia, with Chinese investment increasing in both quantity and quality. Thailand’s Board of Investment confident overall applications for investment privileges will reach target of USD $18 billion in 2017. Malaysia’s Second Finance Minister states country has some well-run government-linked companies and rebuts concerns about Chinese investment. Two Japanese and seven Chinese state-owned enterprises bid for Bandar Malaysia project. Vietnam Steel Association proposes limiting foreign investment to certain kinds of steel projects.
July 27th, 2017
In rare praise for foreign firms, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauds their contribution to China and says the Chinese government must do more to attract and retain them. The China Banking Regulatory Commission imposes strict limits on Chinese banks providing support for overseas deals by Dalian Wanda. Some feel the United States (US) Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is becoming stricter which, in turn, may hinder Chinese investment flows in the US. Toyota continues USD $310 million UK plant expansion after receiving Brexit reassurances from British government. Japanese financial institutions move to set up subsidiary businesses in the EU as Brexit jeopardizes their financial services licenses. Hyundai to open fifth Chinese assembly plant as compact vehicle sales are expected to rise before Chinese government’s increase in purchase taxes next year. South Korea’s Nexen Tire Corp. signs memorandum of understanding with United Arab Emirates’ state-owned Mubadala Development Co. Indonesian branch of ExxonMobil drops talks on East Natuna natural gas block, with Jakarta saying it intends to invite firm to discuss project again. Economist says Malaysia to become key economic corridor because of strong economic fundamentals, strategic geographical location and Prime Minister’s diplomatic efforts. China’s restrictions on bank loans to Dalian Wanda Group diminish prospects of Bandar Malaysia project. Vietnam’s Prime Minister signs decision to boost his country’s solar power development which is spurring much foreign investor interest. At HCM City conference, Laotian provinces court investment from Vietnam.
July 18th, 2017
Chinese inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in June shows slow growth year-over-year (YOY) while the first half of 2017 showed a very slight decline in inward FDI (IFDI) YOY. Twenty percent of American firms in Shanghai plan to redirect their investment elsewhere. China’s non-financial outward FDI (OFDI) over the first six months of 2017 YOY plummets due to capital controls, tight loan supervision, and overseas factors. Almost a dozen members of American Congress ask US Securities and Exchange Commission to block Chinese-led consortium from buying Chicago Stock Exchange. At a recent conference, Chinese officials tout dramatic future growth in Chinese OFDI and moneys supplied for One Belt, One Road projects. Japan External Trade Organization and India’s provincial governments increase investment cooperation for special industrial zones to meet expansion needs of Japanese firms. Toshiba still negotiating with bidders, as company strives to fulfill government demand to keep chip technology under domestic ownership. SK Group moving to aggressively increase relations with Chinese officials. China considers investment to connect Thailand's Eastern Economic Corridor with Kunming's special economic zone. Malaysian financier central figure in probes related to plundered Malaysian state development fund 1Malaysian Development Bhd. Vietnamese government gradually opens its transportation and logistics sector, providing investment opportunities for foreign firms.
July 13th, 2017
Speakers at event in Beijing argue greater market openness in China might facilitate greater Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States (US). Iranian, Chinese, and French, public and private firms, sign massive USD $4.8 billion deal to develop Iran’s South Pars (SP11) gas field. US considers applying economic sanctions on Chinese companies that do business with North Korea even if such activities are not prohibited by the United Nations Security Council. Japan and EU agree to broad outlines of new free trade agreement against the backdrop of US protectionist turn. China’s growing labor shortages, flowing from government policies, among other things, provide Japanese robotic manufacturing companies with investment opportunities. Hyundai Heavy Industries signs memorandum of understanding with state owned Saudi Aramco for engine plant in Saudi Arabia. Joint Korean and US Chambers of Commerce business summit results in Korean firms investing USD $12.8 billion in US. PT Freeport’s contract extension yet to be decided by Jakarta contrary to some media reports. Tender for Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail attracts strong global interest from potential bidders. Malaysia’s Ministry of Finance issues Request for Proposal for firms interested in developing the Bandar Malaysia project. Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long and German Chancellor Angela Merkel discuss enhancing defense, cyber security and trade ties between both countries. Vietnam to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in renewable energy projects, reflecting country’s bid to increase electricity from renewable energy sources. Real estate FDI second most popular sector for foreign investment in Vietnam because of economic growth and new government policies.
July 4th, 2017
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) plans to create database with information on foreign investors. China’s MOFCOM and National Development and Reform Commission role out first nationwide negative list, which has 30 fewer restricted and prohibited sectors than the 2015 list. China’s Leading Group for Comprehensive Reform calls for more statistics on and the better monitoring of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (OFDI). Despite Brexit, many expect Chinese firms will remain interested in investing in the United Kingdom (UK). Takata files for bankruptcy protection in the US and Japan due to massive recall, with viable operations bought by Chinese-owned Key Safety Systems. Korea Economic Research Institute urges Korean government to exempt taxes on income earned by South Korean multinationals abroad to encourage capital repatriation. Samsung joins increasing list of international firms boosting employment in the US in line with US President Donald Trump’s push for more manufacturing jobs. Jakarta plans to revise its Negative Investment List to encourage more foreign investment. World Bank states that foreign investment in Indonesia is still too low and recommends various policy changes. Minister says Malaysia’s government constantly striving to attract foreign investment. Former Bank Negara Malaysia governor says Malaysians should view China’s increasing investment rationally to evaluate benefits to country.
June 26th, 2017
China’s State Council announces that 27 restrictions relating to foreign direct investment (FDI) in its free-trade zones have been eliminated. China’s non-financial outward FDI (OFDI) plunges by almost 53 percent for the first five months of the year year-over-year (YOY). Chinese legal experts suggest new international legal mechanisms may be needed to deal with disputes involving Chinese OFDI. China’s Huadian, a state-owned enterprises (SOE), and Russia’s TGC-2 announce nearly $600 million joint venture power project has come online. After years of decline because of political tensions Japanese companies now more willing to invest in China. Survey shows Japanese firms willing to increase investment in Thailand especially in Eastern Economic Corridor. Samsung Electronics Co. about to finalize talks on expanding its US production facilities, a move motivated by Donald Trump’s election. Jakarta promises more easing of rules to increase foreign investment. PGN, Indonesia’s National Gas company, plans to make Batam Indonesia a center of natural gas supplies and a “paradise” for energy investors. Malaysia Digital Economy Corp welcomes Japanese ICT firms to use Malaysia as a stepping-stone for entering the Southeast Asian market. Malaysia’s Construction Industry Development Board to participate in bidding process for Indian railway stations’ makeover.
June 19th, 2017
American and other trade unions shake and flip over potential risks to McDonald’s workers after the firm sells its self-owned China stores to Citic and Carlyle Group. United States (US) moving to strengthen review processes to encompass Chinese investment through mechanisms that are not yet subject to Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) review processes. Responding to news that US is striving to tighten the CFIUS review process, China calls on the US to avoiding politicizing “commercial takeovers.” Canyon Bridge files for third time for CFIUS review of its deal with Lattice Semiconductor. Thailand’s government may loosen licensing requirements for Chinese engineers working on Thai-Sino railway to the consternation of local engineer associations. Japan’s Maritime Air Systems and Technologies (MAST) show offers Tokyo venue to boost military sales with Southeast Asia. Japanese firms carefully evaluate business relations and assets in Qatar following country’s crisis. China blacklists 24 South Korean companies following continued anger over THAAD system. Daewoo Engineering and Lotte Engineering & Construction each sign MOU with Laos’s Petroleum Trading Lao Public Co for infrastructure projects. Indonesian government invites Chinese investors to participate in railway construction project in Bali. CAT Telecom infrastructure development plans continue to drive Thailand to be Greater Mekong Subregion’s digital hub. Lawsuit alleges money misappropriated from Malaysian state fund was used to finance USD $2.2 billion acquisition of US energy firm. Malaysian Minister announces that Malaysian companies will continue to invest in Indonesia. Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister encourages businesses from both countries to foster their investment partnership. Vietnam has come up with a new decree to deal with transfer pricing by multinational corporations.
June 13th, 2017
At the 5th Global CEO Roundtable Summit, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang states that his government will move in several areas to improve the environment for foreign businesses. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) dismisses European Union (EU) Chamber of Commerce in China criticisms of China’s investment environment while opining China still welcomes European investment. ZTE Nigeria denies it is abusing expatriate quota limits and touts its employment practices in the country. Nomura Holding Inc. acquires Venezuelan state oil bonds for USD $100 million provoking strong denunciations by the political opposition. Western Digital abandons plans for a majority share in Toshiba chip division while trying to use the International Court of Arbitration to block Toshiba’s creation of a separate memory chip subsidiary. Hyundai Motors joins smart car partnership with Baidu to foster better Korean-Sino relations. Hyundai Samho Heavy Industries establishes joint venture with Zvezda Shipbuilding to service Russian state-owned enterprise ship needs. Chinese Ambassador to Indonesia seeks support from Indonesian Vice President to implement Jakarta-Bandung bullet train project. United States President invites Thai Prime Minister to visit White House in July to discuss investment and other issues. Sale of Petronas’ 49% share in offshore gas block advances to second round despite political opposition. International Trade and Industry Minister Mustapa urges Malaysians to adopt rational attitude towards its local equity ownership policy. IE Singapore signs memorandum of understanding with Myanmar Investment Commission. Secretary of Ho Chi Minh City Municipal Party Committee welcomes more US investment. Vietnamese Prime Minister promises to improve business environment of his country to attract more Japanese investment.