Hot Topics for MNCs, Cool Analysis*
July 7th, 2020
China Ministry of Commerce data shows respectable year-over-year inward foreign direct investment growth (FDI) in April and May, with some hoping for continued growth in the 2nd half of the year. China’s new development initiatives for its Western regions are not succeeding in attracting inward FDI (IFDI) for both business and political reasons. The China Securities Regulatory Commission will look to allow big Chinese commercial banks into investment banking so they can help China fend off the growing challenge from foreign investment banking firms. The United States (US) Pentagon has submitted a list of 20 Chinese companies with ties to China’s military that operate “‘directly or indirectly’” in the US. The Indian government bans almost 5 dozen mobile apps. India’s state government of Maharashtra freezes investment proposals from three Chinese businesses. Japan adds select medical fields to the list of areas requiring special FDI reviews. Japan moves to allocate funds to domestic firms so they have a greater chance to participate in the 5G wireless technology race. Japan’s Kirin Holding will commission an audit of its Burmese joint venture (JV) partner over allegations its JV channels funds to Myanmar’s military. Japan is contemplating Indonesian proposals that Japan participate in its Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail which is delayed and overbudget. The Korean Communication Commission announces that Google will revise select YouTube subscription practices following a large fine and negative ruling. South Korea outward FDI, which favors North America, plunged dramatically in March. Potential for Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction to start its Indonesian Jawa Thermal Power Plant Construction Project increases after project based second feasibility study. US Presidential election increases pressure on Korean carmakers and tiremakers to invest more in the US.
June 1st, 2020
China’s recently issued Guideline regarding its economy contains numerous favorable, albeit general, offerings for foreign direct investment (FDI). To retaliate against United States (US) exports controls against Huawei, China readies itself to add US companies to an “unreliable entity list” which may subject them to various sanctions. US Chamber of Commerce decries potentially excessive measures by US government to move supply chains away from China. United Kingdom looks to reduce Huawei involvement in its 5G network with Huawei potentially being removed from all telecommunications infrastructure by 2023. Chinese contractors plan to make substantial progress on Indonesia’s Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail over the balance of 2020. US pressure influences Israel to reject Hong Kong firm’s bid on strategically located, large-scale desalination plant. Japan categorizes firms into three groups as part of its effort to clarify what review processes apply to FDI pursuant to its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. New Japanese law requires technology companies operating e-commerce websites and apps to submit annual reports, notifications of contract changes, and establish complaint processes. In quest for supply chain resiliency, Japan will provide subsides to encourage Japanese firms to return to Japan or move to Southeast Asia. Realized inward FDI into Korea in the first quarter 2020 plunges over similar period last year due to shorter worker hours, higher minimum wages, and other factors. South Korean parliament passes legislation that likely forces content providers to share network costs with local internet service providers. US support for the Economic Prosperity Network raises fears among Korean companies they will be pushed to shift FDI to the US. Korean firm to make huge investment in UAE pipeline as part of its consortium’s winning bid.
April 26th, 2020
According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), more than 1000 companies including many from the United States (US), Germany, and Japan have registered from the 2020 November China International Import Expo. MOFCOM reports that China’s non-financial outward foreign direct investment (FDI) declined less than 1 percent year-over-year when compared to the 1st quarter of 2019. Many interpreted a recent India notification indicating special government scrutiny of FDI from bordering countries as directed against China as a time when Indian companies might be vulnerable. Canyon Bridge, the Chinese owner of the United Kingdom (UK)’s semiconductor designer Imagination Technologies, says the company’s headquarters will stay in the UK. Japan will add the medical sector to the list of sectors where FDI is subject to review pursuant to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law. Japan’s NEC wins major deal to supply observation satellite to Vietnam. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission needs more time to review Delivery Hero’s deal to acquire Woowa Brothers due to concerns about the anti-competitive effects of the deal. Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction concludes a roughly $450 million deal with the Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to build an Integrated Train Testing Center.
April 19th, 2020
China’s Ministry of Commerce reported that inward foreign direct investment (FDI) plunged over the first three quarters of 2020 when compared to 2019 largely due to the effects of Covid-19. A Shanghai court ordered Chinese shoe company New Barlun to pay USD $1.41 million in damages and litigation costs for trademark infringement and unfair competition to American shoe company New Balance. Huawei responds to criticism in the United Kingdom (UK) and proposed restrictions on its involvement in the UK 5G network by noting its role in keeping Britain online and the damage done by the criticism. A British parliamentarian calls for the UK government to ensure Imagination Technology’s technology base is not moved to China. Yahoo Japan will cooperate with the Japanese government to provide data from consenting users that could help identify clusters. The Board of Investment of Thailand approves Mitsubishi Motors’ plan to improve manufacturing lines at one existing plant to allow for production of hybrids and electric vehicles. After the failure of arbitration, Netflix opts to take South Korea’s SK Broadband to court over special fees for data-heavy content that the latter wants to improve upon the former. LG Chem obtains special privileges from the Polish government enabling its employees dispatched to its electric vehicle plant there to avoid certain quarantine.
April 11th, 2020
United States (US) financial giant JPMorgan strikes terms for taking 100 percent stake in its Shanghai mutual fund joint venture (JV). US trade bodies write to US Department of Commerce head to warn about adverse effects of contemplated changes to US export controls of semiconductors and semiconductor equipment to China, stressing for the first time the importance of chips in healthcare equipment. Reported attempted Board coup at United Kingdom (UK) graphic chipmaker Imagination Technologies blocked by UK government. China rejects reported charge that it was donating masks to France on the condition Huawei could participate in France’s 5G network. Japan prepares massive supplemental budget to facilitate Japanese firms leaving China for Japan or Southeast Asia. Indonesia’s partial lockdown in Jakarta drives Japanese firms to temporary shutter their factories there. Korean regulatory authorities will conduct a comprehensive review of Germany’s Delivery Hero’s acquisition of Woowa Brothers, the operator of food delivery app Baemin. India’s Mahindra & Mahindra says it will not inject fresh funding into SsangYong Motor.
April 5th, 2020
Shanghai touts the signing of USD $16 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) deals as well as a new investment platform. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) will move to open the oil and gas industry chain in East China’s Zhejiang Pilot Free Trade Zone (FTZ) to, among other things, bring in strategic FDI. Senior managers at the Gwadar Port in Pakistan state the coronavirus has not had a serious negative effect on the port’s operations. Hungarian government moves to classify details of loan to finance Budapest-Belgrade rail project, arguing it would help it secure the loan. The production of Japanese automakers in China plummets in February and global output likely to drop due to factory shutdowns in the United States (US) and Europe. Asashi Group (Japan) has received approved from Australian competition authorities to complete its purchase of Australia’s Carlton & United Breweries subject to certain divestitures. Korea’s HDC Hyundai Development Co. acquisition of Asiana Airlines slowed due to delays in competition authority review work resulting from the coronavirus. Korean battery manufacturers in China to benefit from Beijing’s extension of electric vehicle (EV) battery subsidies because they include foreign battery makers.
March 29th, 2020
The China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) has issued more than 6400 force majeure certificates to help suppliers deal with their inability to meet their contractual obligations. Per China’s Ministry of Commerce, Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first two months of 2020 totaled USD $15.5 billion, a 1.8 percent year-over-year (YOY) increase. China’s MOFCOM reports that Chinese companies put $2.72 billion into 48 countries along the Belt and Road, an 18.3 percent jump YOY. Chinese construction companies prove adept at rapidly building hospitals in countries facing medical infrastructure challenges in coronavirus era. In the first defense product export deal since Japan eased its arms trade ban in 2014, Mitsubishi will sell air radar systems to the Philippines. In an atmosphere where automobile companies are expected to help by producing supplies to deal with Covid-19, Toyota North America moves to step up production of related goods. Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics get exemptions to send engineers to their plants in Vietnam. US International Trade Commissions released documents explaining its default judgement supporting LG Chem’s accusations of trade secret theft by SK Innovation.
March 22nd, 2020
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) notes China will strive to help foreign businesses resume normal operations, will shorten the negative list for foreign direct investment (FDI), and will advance major foreign-invested projects. Shanghai city government highlights that major foreign financial firms continue to inject FDI into the brokerage, asset management, and securities sectors, among others, despite the Covid-19 epidemic. China State Construction Engineering Corporation places first tower cap in mega skyscraper project for Egypt’s new administrative capital, part of the Belt and Road Initiative. Japan’s Ministry of Finance starts to solicit public comment on future revisions to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. List of Japanese companies suspending operations at factories in the United States (US) due to coronavirus grows. Korea Rail Network Authority (KRNA) wins a bid from Thailand to manage a high-speed railway linking three airports. Hyundai Rotem, a subsidiary of Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group, ordered by Brazil’s Ministry of Labor to pay large fine plus moneys due workers for failing to pay workers overtime pay.
March 15th, 2020
China’s State Council identifies measures to encourage greater foreign direct investment (FDI) into China. Shanghai continues to attract inward FDI and seeks to reach new heights in 2020. China’s TikTok to establish center in United States (US) to assuage worries that user data is being transmitted back to China. US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin tells US Congressional committee that the US is working with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to ensure their funds are not used to repay Belt and Road Initiative debts. Japan will not allow investors filing applications under its new FDI review system to submit notice online or in English. Japanese Ministry of Finance data shows Japan’s overseas investment earnings rose steadily in January 2019, offsetting deficits in other areas. Hyundai Heavy Industries’ acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering encountered another obstacle with the European Commission delaying its decision on the merger until the summer. Korea’s Samsung facing hindrances to its efforts to boost production at some of its Vietnam factories due to Vietnam’s restrictions on Korean travelers resulting from the coronavirus.
March 8th, 2020
China assures foreign investors measures to “help firms resume operations and restore supply chains” disrupted by the coronavirus epidemic will treat “foreign and domestic companies equally.” Foreign intellectual property filings (invention patents and trademarks) in China show respectable growth in 2019 over the prior year due to legal, regulatory, and processing improvements. Beijing Kunlun on the verge of fulfilling United States (US) Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to sell Grindr. CFIUS reportedly has advised US President Donald Trump to block German firm Infineon, who counts China as a major client, planned purchase of Cypress Semiconductor. Japan’s Council on Investment in the Future contemplating ways to protect the economy from supply chains disruption in China caused by the coronavirus epidemic. The Japan Institute for Overseas Investment has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding with Zambia to join a network to facilitate FDI flows to Zambia. Korea Communication Commission develops arbitration proposal that might serve as a template for resolving conflicts between content providers and service providers. Vietnam to quarantine all visitors from South Korea potentially hindering Korean companies that are becoming increasingly prominent investors there.