MNCs in the News*
October 18th, 2016
China’s inward foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first nine months of 2016 grows a modest 4.2 percent year-over-year (YOY). China takes various steps to ease process for inward FDI, but foreign observers reserve judgement. Shanghai Municipal Food and Drug Administration imposes several million dollars in fines on Shanghai Husi and OSI Group’s China office for distributing reprocessed and expired meat. GlaxoSmithKline has been moving over the past two years to enhance its R&D capabilities in China and to take other steps to enhance its ability to serve Chinese patients. Chinese outward FDI in the US hits a record in 2015, spurring increased sensitivity. Chinese President Xi Jinping promises Portuguese Prime Minister his country will encourage more investment in Portugal. Alibaba plans to help Thailand with small business development, e-commerce, and e-payments. Chongqing actively engages with China’s One Belt, One Road scheme giving it all kinds of new export and logistics opportunities. Fujitsu plans to downside in the UK and denies the move relates to Brexit, though there are doubts. Japan’s SoftBank partners with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund to create massive tech investment fund. Korean construction firm Doosan wins approximately billion dollar power plant project in Saudi Arabia. Korea Electric Power Corporation wins more than $35 billion coal-fired thermal plant contract in South Africa, the country’s first independent power project. Investors enthused about Indonesia infrastructure opportunities, but worry about requirement they be paid in rupiah. Malaysia welcomes investment in the biomass industry and announces major new investment by Korean petroleum refiner. Samsung’s massive global Galaxy7 smartphone recall may have an adverse impact on Vietnam’s growth rate. Ho Chi Minh City see big drop in investment in industrial parks and export processing zones as it pushes investment in tech rather than labor-intensive sectors.
October 4th, 2016
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) dismisses foreign business concerns about the investment environment for foreign direct investment (FDI). Microsoft, whose Windows 8 was banned two years ago on government computers, is now working on a localized government operating system for China. Outward FDI (OFDI) by Chinese financial institutions jumped 26 percent in 2015 while Chinese OFDI hit a new record. Chinese private firms become the dominant Chinese overseas direct investors in 2015. ChemChina seeks European Union approval of its immense acquisition of Syngenta AG. The parties involved in the Hinkley Point nuclear power complex project, which involves a major Chinese role, finally signed a contract for the deal. China and Thailand struggle to settle issues pertaining to a major joint railway project. China moves to bolster its investment, trade, and other forms of cooperation with Cuba. Japanese business delegation asks China to enhance exit procedures and antitrust rules. Indonesia may impose more than USD $400 tax bill on Google. Foreign pharmaceutical companies pour big money into Indonesia in anticipation of new health care opportunities. FDI accounts for more than 30 percent of Malaysian investment in the first six months of 2016. Thailand is moving to tighten tax collection rules for foreign internet and technology firms. Vietnam moving towards eliminating various caps on foreign involvement in its banking sector. Vietnam’s planned divestiture of Vinamilk could be a very positive sign for the country’s privatization drive.
September 20th, 2016
Inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in China shows growth over the previous month year over year (YOY) and for the first eight months of 2016 YOY. China’s State Council announces China will adopt a nationwide negative list by October 1. Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) dramatically jumps over first 8 months of 2016. Chinese OFDI (COFDI) surges dramatically over first eight months of 2016. British government surprise review of Hinkley Point C nuclear plant deal involving China General Nuclear Corporation (CGNC) results in approval. Chinese government and CGNC pleased by British decision on Hinkley Point C. China is major investor in Myanmar’s power sector. Peru’s President expresses concerns about the financial viability and environmental consequences of a Chinese-proposed transcontinental railway from Brazil to Peru. Brexit may drive some political realignments between Japan and Britain, though Japanese companies await developments. GM Korea President James Kim calls for an end to worker strikes and warns of adverse consequences for GM Korea. Korean Fintech firms will push the Korean Fair Trade Commission to force Apple to open its APIs for near field communication. Following high level leader summit, Korean firms win many deals in Russia. Indonesia tax amnesty fails to produce anticipated results. Indonesian minister’s proposal to soften 2009 Mining Law draws fire. Thailand reports the Sino-Thai high-speed rail initiative is chugging forward.
September 6th, 2016
China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee adopts amendments that allow for the permanent suspension of four foreign investment related laws in the Fujian, Guangdong, Shanghai, and Tianjin Free Trade Zones (FTZ). China has decided to allow for the creation of six new provincial FTZs as well as one municipal level FTZ, with each place expected to play to its features and comparative advantages. The European Chamber of Commerce in China asserts China’s market barriers are politically unsustainable. China’s Ministry of Commerce confirms to reporters that it is investigating the proposed Didi-Uber merger. British Prime Minister Theresa May confirms she would have her National Security Council examine the potential security implications of China’s participation in the massive Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant project. Japan pledges USD $30 billion investment in Africa at the 6th Tokyo International Conference on African Development. Japanese trading firms find electrifying power project opportunities in Africa. Korean free economic zones are not achieving the anticipated results. Indonesian state-owned enterprises seek funding from multiple sources to fund the country’s massive infrastructure plans. Vietnam and Cuba aim to boost bilateral investment flows.
August 29th, 2016
Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States clears ChemChina’s massive acquisition of Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta. Indonesia awards Chinese consortium construction permit for the full length of a USD $5 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway line. Sino-Vietnamese tensions over the South China Sea have affected the operations of Chinese firms in Vietnam, but many Chinese businesspeople still feel Vietnam has investment appeal. Huawei works with Nigerian government to advance the latter’s national ICT objectives. Malaysia’s Sarawak is working on creating an appealing physical ecosystem to ensure it remains one of the favorite investment destinations for foreign investors.
August 22nd, 2016
China’s Foreign Ministry downplays worries about its cybersecurity law. Apple launches numerous initiatives to enhancing its operating environment in China. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) asserts its rights to review Didi Chuxing-Uber Technologies China merger for potential antitrust issues. Second Australian rejection of a major Chinese investment this year spurs MOFCOM to warn Australia of consequences and to call upon the latter to create a better investment environment. Iran courts increased Chinese investment and prods China for greater involvement in the latter’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) scheme. Korea’s Ministry of Environment will conduct a major investigation to find out if other foreign carmakers falsified emissions and noise level test data. Seoul’s Central District Prosecutors’ Office grills second Volkswagen Korea executive over allegations the company illegal changed car parts to pass emission tests. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission concludes that Google Korea’s preloaded apps and subsidies for search ads did not restrict market competition. Korea is moving to deal with map data requests from global companies. The Malaysian government continues to support the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor, with foreign investment representing 40 percent of the money committed to the project. Vietnam’s realized inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) flows fall far below committed IFDI.
August 9th, 2016
Analysts speculate on the economic and political factors that drove the new British government to delay a decision on the Hinkley Point C project. Some conjecture British Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed the project due to national security considerations. Chinese government urges British government to move forward with Hinkley Point decision and hints at possible adverse consequences for relationship. France awards CGN one of its first industrial-scale offshore floating wind power projects. South Korea’s environmental ministry bans the sales and cancels certifications of 80 Volkswagen models over VWs fraudulent emissions and noise tests. South Korea’s National Tax Service Seoul Regional Office launches a tax probe into the Korean affiliate of Huawei Technologies Co. for possible tax evasion. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is confident of reaching its realized inward FDI (FDI) investment goals for 2016 because of its fast-track permitting process. BKPM chief downplays possibility that the South China Sea dispute will affect FDI flows, including from China, into Indonesia. Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister emphasizes the country plans to ensure all investors in the energy sector obey the country’s laws and rules. Thai oil and gas conglomerate PTT PLC says it is still in the process of developing a massive refinery and petrochemical plant in Vietnam. Registered inward FDI (IFDI) into Vietnam over the first seven months of 2016 soars over the same period year-over-year (YOY).
July 25th, 2016
Inward FDI into China grew slowly over the first six months of 2016 year-over-year. The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s unfavorable ruling against China’s South China Sea claims sparks protests and boycott calls against American “icons” in China to the chagrin of the Chinese government. A Chinese consortium’s effort to buy the entire Opera Software company falls apart reportedly due to a failure to get sufficient Chinese government approvals. Japanese official travels to Singapore to tout the advantages of Japan high speed rail system for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail project. South Korea’s Fair Trust Commission watchdog relaunches investigation into Google Inc.’s requirement that smartphone makers using its Android operating system preload its search engine. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is conducting a roadshow in Guangzhou to tout the country’s improving investment environment. Indonesia is working to help investors surmount problems that hinder them from realizing their investments and has developed special initiatives. The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is working on getting more companies to participate in its principle hub scheme. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister calls on his country to be more selective in its FDI attraction efforts and to work on getting better FDI.
July 21st, 2016
China’s State Administration of Taxation has issued new guidelines for evaluating domestic and foreign companies’ tax performance. Under pressure, IKEA agrees to massive recall of Malm products in China. Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. stops producing the iEV6s sport utility vehicle featuring Samsung SDI’s batteries because the Chinese government did not approve the Samsung SDI battery possibly to retaliate against South Korea’s decision to accept the THAAD system. American Enterprise Institute analysis finds large percentages of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016 are for mergers & acquisitions, by private firms, and going to the US. China to make good on its promise to invest $2.21 billion in European Fund for Strategic Investments. For some, Chinese investments in film sector raise questions about China’s impact on film distribution and content. After Brexit, Japanese car makers forced to revisit the logic of their investments in the United Kingdom. Korea’s Ministry of Environment will impose a series of harsh penalties against Volkswagen for the latter’s fraud regarding noise and gas emission data. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission is likely to impose a nearly $900 million fine on Qualcomm for the latter’s abusive technology licensing practices. Indonesian government seeks billions of dollars in investment to help develop tourist zones. Vietnamese government targets greater tourism sector investment. Vietnam seeks foreign investment to plug it highway system funding gap.
July 14th, 2016
Apple struggles to ensure China does not turn into a lemon. Walmart workers in China take widespread action against the company’s new working hours system. British Trade Ministry touts that losing pounds is good for Chinese investors. China Road and Bridge Co. wins first state project awarded to a Chinese company since new government came to power in Myanmar. Chinese banks work to bolster risk management and compliance abilities as they expand overseas. Japanese financial firms licensed in London forced to consider whether they should relocate elsewhere in the European Union (EU). After massacre in Dhaka, Japan’s Fast Retailing Co. suspends all but critical travel to Bangladesh. South Korea begins investigation of Ford Motor’s Explorer for possible leakage of exhaust fumes inside the vehicle. GM Korea is under the microscope in Korea because of repeated bribery/corruption scandals and selling inferior quality cars. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges the government to take action to allow for full implementation of its policy packages. Contemporary Korean investment in Vietnam represents a third wave of Korean investment in the country.