MNCs in the News*
March 17th, 2016
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports that foreign direct investment flows into China topped USD $22.5 billion in the first two months of 2016. Bristol-Myers Squibb moves to deal with fallout of US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement relating to its China joint venture. Chrysler to recall nearly 21,000 vehicles in China that have an oil pipe defect. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (COFDI) soars YOY with smaller and private enterprises becoming more important proportionally. Statistics for 2015 show strength of COFDI in Europe. China sees room for more COFDI in Russian agriculture as well as agricultural cooperation. Some believe COFDI in the US has the potential to influence voting patterns in some localities. Chicago Transit Authority awards CSR Sifang America a USD $1.3 billion railcar supply order. Mitsubishi partners with Korean firm on government awarded coal-fired power plant project in Vietnam. Foreign businesses in Korea voice concern about the discretionary legal and regulatory environment and call for greater stability. Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Italy’s SIMEST that will facilitate more Italian investment in Korea. Korea and Egypt expand their bilateral cooperation increase infrastructure and cooperation opportunities for Korean firms in Egypt. The liberalization of Indonesia’s cinema sector draws increases foreign investor interest in cinema screen construction in the country. The Thai Business Development Department (TBDD) and Franchise License Association (FLA) will cooperate to assist franchise business operators conduct business in ASEAN countries, China, and Japan. State Railway of Thailand (SRT) governor welcomes foreign construction companies to participate in government investment projects provided they find a Thai partner and obey Thai rules and regulations.
March 5th, 2016
According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, China plans to “lower entry barriers for foreign investors.” MOFCOM representatives also indicate that “China will support foreign participation in its drive to reform state owned enterprises (SOEs).” Foreign Ambassadors present letter to China’s Ministry of Public Security to express their anxieties about China’s new counterterrorism law, draft security law, and draft law on the management of foreign non-government organizations. Qualcomm reaches settlement with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding allegations of improperly hiring the relatives of Chinese officials and giving lavish gifts. According to news reports, in contrast to its battles with the US FBI, Apple is showing great flexibility towards the Chinese government. Three members of the US Congress ask for increased scrutiny of Zoomlion’s purchase of US Terex Corp. Problems caused by increased scrutiny of Chinese outward investments led to deals with unusual termination fees and deal terms. Massive Chinese state-owned enterprise investments in Europe fuel concerns. Olympus Corp. will pay the US Justice Department a $623 million fine due to kickback payments and its giving of luxurious gifts. Korean government-business delegation journeys to Iran and concludes numerous deals. A South Korean wins Bolivian deal to build a new city in Bolivia. Indonesia plans to set up a “China Desk” to better Chinese investors. Vietnam shows substantial increases of FDI during the first two months of 2016. Vietnam needs to provide more information to solve problems of foreign investors.
February 28th, 2016
China will ban foreign companies, including foreign-invested joint ventures (JVs), from publishing online media, games, and other creative content within China’s borders. Deals involving Chinese companies receive the highest number of Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews for the third straight year. US administration and Congressional sensitivity to Chinese investments in the US reportedly grows. Indian bullet train deal with Japan leads to new construction and parts opportunities for Japanese companies. Violent protests in Rohtak forces Maruti Suzki to suspend its production activities. Korea Industrial Complex Corporation will help Hoa Khanh Industrial Complex develop industrial symbiosis projects. Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism awards integrated casino resort project to U.S. casino operator Mohegan Sun. Indonesia negative list and other policy measures directed at foreign investors draw increasing attention to the country. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board plans to boost foreign investment from Southeast Asia countries, especially Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia’s cold-storage industry hopes government will act to shape the form and location of FDI in its sector. The Thai Payment Network will issue millions to card to advance government’s national e-payment initiative. Thailand’s Board of Investments will open branches abroad to help Thai companies invest overseas.
February 20th, 2016
China’s State Council will work to expand service and merchandise trade by giving foreign businesses new opportunities. Chinese Ministry of Commerce think tank researcher expects Chinese outbound M&A to hit new record in 2016. Regulatory issues in China and abroad appear to impact some Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Europe) and the Chinese embassy in Spain scramble to react to Spanish police raid in connection with suspected money laundering by ICBC Madrid. COSCO formally declared the preferred bidder for the privatization of of Greece’s Piraeus port. Visit of South Korea’s Trade Minister to eBay Korea’s Incheon facility leads the latter to promise to help small Korean merchants tap the online export market. Volkswagen Korea faces ongoing pressure from Korean regulators in connection with recall orders relating to its emissions-data cheating cars. South Korean outward FDI experiences strong growth in 2015. South Korea accuses North Korea of using Kaesong moneys for its military programs. Korean government agencies mobilize to encourage foreigners to participate in the development of Korean startups. Indonesia’s e-commerce sector lauds government’s plan to open the e-Commerce to FDI. Indonesian president tells businesspeople at US-ASEAN Business Council Conference that his country will undertake more FDI-related reforms. Thai officials express optimism about the Thai-Chinese negotiations about a medium-speed rail project. Vietnamese and American companies strike numerous deals on the sidelines of the US-ASEAN Summit. Vietnam’s southern Binh Dinh Province will take steps to attract more FDI.
February 15th, 2016
Shanghai Zhangjiang National Innovation Zone allows new possibilities for foreign pharmaceutical companies to focus on their core competencies. Sharp’s acceptance of a buyout bid from Foxxconn suggests Japan really may start to welcome more foreign direct investment (FDI). Japan’s Mitsubishi willing to do all work in Australia to win major Australian next generation submarine contract. Gaeseong Industrial Complex falls victim to tit-for-tat between South and North Korea over the latter’s missile and nuclear tests. Daewoo Engineering & Construction wins project commissioned by Indian state-run enterprise at a time of a special strategic partnership between India and South Korea. Indonesia to undertake major FDI liberalization. Indonesian filmmakers cheer opening of the film industry and cinema sector to foreign investment. Indonesian government plans to provide legal guarantee to PT Kereta Cepat Indonesia China (KCIC) for Indonesia’s high-speed rail project. Thailand’s Board of Investment (BOI) touts the successes of its new investment promotion policy and cluster-promotion scheme. Thailand’s Commerce Ministry aims to bolster the overseas investment capabilities of Thai small- and medium-enterprises. Malaysia sees greater Chinese inward FDI in the future. European Chamber of Commerce expresses its hopes for legal and policy changes during the next Filipino presidency.
February 6th, 2016
Shanghai’s Jiading People’s Court imposed fines and jail terms on OSI China for 2014 safety scandal. China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine orders Volkswagen to recall defective cars. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) shows no meaningful adverse impact from Chinese efforts to control capital outflows. China rejects media reports that the China-Indonesia high-speed railway project connecting Jakarta with Bandung has been suspended. COSCO looks to win bids for port contracts in Cyprus. Yahoo Japan besieged by criticism about its efforts to deal with the sale of illegal ivory on its website. Japan and Iran conclude investment pact. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) fines Lotte founder and Lotte subsidiaries for false and incomplete reporting of ownership stakes and structures. Korea Water Resources Corporation to partner with Asian Development Bank to limit water waste and improve resource management. Indonesia’s Telekomunikasi blocks Netflix. Indonesia moves to remove barriers hindering infrastructure projects. Indonesia religious group calls for additional study of Jakarta-Bandung high speed rail. Japanese investors encourage Thailand to join the TPP, saying it will have positive investment effects. Vietnam’s Foreign Investment Agency reports positive figures in January for investment growth and disbursements.
January 28th, 2016
China’s inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) falls in December 2015, though its FDI totals for 2015 show growth. The American Chamber of Commerce in China Business Climate Survey shows significant numbers of companies still favor China despite having many concerns and notable profit pressures. Guizhou concludes USD $280 million semiconductor joint venture with Qualcomm. Saudi Aramco looks to increase its investment footprint in China especially in the refinery sector. Iran and Egypt court greater Chinese investment, economic cooperation, and tourism during Xi Jinping’s Middle East tour. Egypt TEDA Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Development Company will soon begin work to expand the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone. Wanda Group to invest in USD $10 billion industrial park in northern India. US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) orders new recall of Takata air bags. South Korean environmental ministry will bring criminal case against Audi Volkswagen Korea managing director. Foreign governments challenge South Korea over the terms of legislation governing the operations of foreign law firms in Korea. Amnesty charges firms like Samsung and Sony do not do enough to ensure the minerals they use are not produced with child labor. Thailand secures pledge of reduced interest rate from China for joint Thai-Chinese medium-speed rail project. Deloitte pushes Singapore to improve its tax regime for treasury centers and headquarters to fend off competition from neighboring countries.
January 21st, 2016
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announces that China’s inward foreign direct investment (FDI) hit $126.27 billion in 2015. Apple works to promote zero waste and solar energy programs at its China suppliers. In 2015, Apple was the largest foreign service sector tax payer in Shanghai while Shanghai Volkswagen was the largest foreign industrial sector tax payer. GAC Group becomes strategic investor in Uber. China’s outward M&A in 2015 hits record. Beijing Kunlun buys stake in gay dating ap Grindr. Japanese firms win construction deals in Myanmar’s Thilawa special economic zone. Woori Bank becomes first Korean bank to arrange Sharia-law compliant financial transaction with an Islamic bank. Indonesia and Russia pursue improvements in their investment, trade, and other forms of economic cooperation. Indonesia National Human Rights Commission calls for Japan to be attentive to possible human rights violations regarding a Japanese supported thermal power plant project. Foreign investment into Thailand in 2015 drops dramatically. Thai Industrial Association head frets that Transpacific Partnership will led to investment diversion as well as intensifying competitive pressure for Thai goods. THAI breaks tradition on bringing foreigners into managerial ranks. State-owned Vietnam Airlines welcomes investment from Japan’s ANA Holdings. Ho Chi Minh City orders Uber to pay taxes due immediately. Pressures for Vietnamese SOE reform through foreign partnerships increase, but the process proves challenging
January 10th, 2016
China’s inward foreign direct investment in 2015 hits record levels. China plays hard with Mister Softee. Uber Technologies hails local partners to build up its presence in China and win favor with local governments. Japanese firm becomes first foreign firm to obtain permission to sell automobile insurance in Myanmar. Korean construction firms witness dramatic drop in overseas construction contracts. Indonesia does not necessarily subscribe to Netflix’s planned entry into the country. New Thailand-Singapore double taxation treaty has important implications for Thai investment in Singapore. Singaporean health care players stand ready to exploit a more favorable environment in China’s health care sector. FDI flows into Vietnam hit record in 2015. Vietnam’s State Bank of Vietnam publishes rules about foreign financial institutions planning to establish non-banking financial companies
January 5th, 2016
China’s Central Economic Work Conference promises to “‘give equal treatment to domestic and foreign companies.’” China’s National People’s Congress approves counter terrorism law that worries foreign businesses and governments. China’s State Council issues guideline designed to enhance IPR protection. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issues a draft of its first “Anti-Monopoly Guidelines on Abuse of Intellectual Property Rights” for public comment. China’s NDRC fines eight international sea freight shipping companies for price fixing. China’s People’s Bank of China suspends three foreign banks from certain kinds of foreign currency activities. Analysts expect Chinese outward investments to reach new heights in 2016. China’s nuclear power firms hope Hinkley Point project will be a stepping stone to new deals abroad. China and Pakistan finalize financing agreement for massive Thar Coalfield development project. Iraqi Prime Minister courts Chinese investment and railway cooperation during his first visit to China. Japan competes vigorously against China in battle to sell high-speed rail overseas. Inward FDI into Korea hits new high in 2015. At the end of December, Korea announced it would impose a Google tax on foreign companies. Hyundai Development Company wins $85.4 million bridge and road construction contract in Vietnam. Samsung Engineering lands another major engineering contract from Mexico’s PEMEX. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Economic Community is expected to boost franchise businesses in Indonesia. Indonesia is hopeful that a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the European Union (EU) will boost EU IFDI. Indonesian will increase incentives to boost investment in oil refineries. Thailand expects IFDI to meet its targets in 2016. China and Thailand hold ceremony to launch joint rail project, though disagreements exist which may delay the project’s start date. Malaysia touts the benefits of its Principal Hub scheme. Chinese group negotiating with Malaysian firms in order to position itself for a bid on Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail. Experts feel recent free trade agreements will boost investment in Vietnam. Vietnam expects US FDI flows into Vietnam to increase significantly, though obstacles remain.