MNCs in the News*
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.
December 21st, 2015
Inward FDI in China continues to show growth year-over-year. European Chamber of Commerce in China President questions China’s interest in attracting foreign investment. Chinese NGO files a lawsuit against VW for its emissions testing cheating fraud. At the 2nd World Internet Conference (WIC), China’s President Xi Jinping promises to protect foreign companies’ legal rights. At the WIC, the Cyberspace Administration of China announces “China will manage cyberspace according to the rule of law, while providing more room for development based on the market” while President Xi stresses cyber sovereignty and the avoidance of internet hegemony. China shifts “Ten-Year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society” in a direction more to its liking. Microsoft partners with Chinese company to create joint venture that will allow it to sell Windows 10 to government market. AstraZeneca to increase investment in China. Chinese outward FDI for the first 11 months of 2011 exceeded $104 billion. Sinopec to build a fuel station on Woody Island in the South China Sea. Australia’s Defense Department strongly criticizes anxieties about the security implications of a long-term lease of a port in northern city of Darwin to a Chinese firm. Chinese state-owned enterprises purchase significant Australian infrastructure assets. Japan provides massive concessional loan to support India’s construction of its first bullet train. French government pledges not to interfere in Nissan. Japan looks to win Singapore-Malaysia bullet train project. Korean government will create industrial complexes in China and Vietnam and business centers around the world to help Korean firms expand abroad. Changes in Korean cloud market draw substantial foreign investor interest. South Korea gives China Everbright Bank permission to set up a branch in Seoul. Indonesian think tank calls for government to move against Freeport Indonesia contract extension.
December 13th, 2015
Cisco says it will give its source code to no one while seeking a “win-win” arrangement with China. Chinese media report that Google has set up a shell company in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) official says that the government will work to facilitate greater outward investment by Chinese firms. Chinese nuclear firms radiate over opportunities presented by China’s Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative. Taiwan struggles to set policy regarding mainland Chinese investment in its chip sector. Chinese firms look to expand abroad to escape limits on their ability to test and sell GMO crops at home. Following the China-Africa summit, Chinese firm wins new railway deals with Kenya. Japan to sign major high-speed rail contract with India. Japanese firms will participate in Brazil urban rail projects. Korean Finance Ministry will create a major fund to support Korean businesses in China. Samsung Engineering scores major petrochemical project awards from Petronas. Nestle acknowledges some working in its Thai seafood supply chain are treated like modern-day slaves. Former Malaysian (Sabah) Chief Minister believes government can create the conditions facilitating a Chinese firm building a bridge connecting Labuan and Sabah. China Railway Engineering Corp. makes investment in Malaysia to lay a possible foundation for bidding on a high-speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore.
December 7th, 2015
China’s General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection, and Quarantine announces recall of more than 10,000 Mercedes cars due to airbag defects. China moves to develop “Made in China” drugs. China’s rising overseas economic presence reflected in its negotiations with Djibouti to build a logistics hub. Top Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) leader highlights potential for further Chinese investment in Africa. At the latest China-Africa Cooperation Summit, Xi Jinping oversees expansion of Chinese economic cooperation with South Africa and other African countries. Ambitious $50 billion Nicaragua canal plan delayed by at least one year, intensifying doubts about its viability. Sino-Russian joint venture (JV) set up to build rail equipment for Moscow-Kazan high-speed rail line. Xiamen University to invest in campus in Malaysia that will support the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. Bank of China facing $50,000/day fine under US District Court contempt order. Nissan moves to limit French government and Renault interference in Nissan-Renault alliance. Japan agrees to provide funding to Indonesia for various mass transit and power projects. Japanese firm lands power deals with Botswana. British firms eager to exploit public-private partnership opportunities in Thailand. Thai Prime Minister emphasizes need for Thai-China railway to move forward. Indonesian government seems reluctant to start early negotiations with Freeport-McMoRan about the Grasberg mine. Vietnam reports significant increase in foreign direct investment inflows up to November 2015.
November 27th, 2015
Google Play app store ready to play in China. Chinese investment in the American financial sector dwarfs American investment in the Chinese financial sector. U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade meeting reportedly yields agreement on the protection of trade secrets and opens Chinese market further to certain types of American firms. Payoff of GlaxoSmithKline’s measures to recover from its 2014 China bribery scandal remain unclear. MOFCOM touts China’s opportunities to Japanese firms and hopes they will invest in “emerging sectors.” Premier Li Keqiang says China will invest $1 trillion overseas in the next five years. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) and contract work continues to record impressive results. Chinese firm private firm outward FDI (OFDI) shows impressive growth. Chinese OFDI in Africa, though, collapses. China promises $10 billion in infrastructure loans to Association of Southeast Asian Nation countries. Chinese train company motoring along in Malaysia. China National Corporation for Overseas Economic Cooperation fires up over Mexican energy sector investment. Chinese companies power up nuclear energy cooperation with Argentina. Japan opens its purse strings to win more infrastructure deals and counter China. Japan expresses its displeasure to Indonesia about Indonesia’s awarding of a high-speed rail contract to China. Japanese public private fund steps forward to finance Texas high-speed rail. Indonesia will act to revise its negative investment list to exclude e-commerce companies.
November 13th, 2015
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promises better environment for German firms in China while seeking greater contributions from them at home and abroad. China announces, albeit with caveats, it will expand negative list system from coastal to interior areas. China’s four free trade zones (FTZs) experience boom in newly registered entities. China’s National Development and Reform Commission moves to draft clearer antitrust guidelines. China promises special operation to protect Disney trademark. Google and other blocks tech firms continue to seek opportunities in China. United States Trade Representative Michael Froman emphasizes TPP’s digital rules are not just about China. China’s China National Nuclear Corp. glows about possible mega nuclear deals with Argentina. HKND plans to move forward with its massive Nicaragua canal plan next year. Takata loses its best client and faces other US penalties for its deceptive actions. Japanese government lobbies Malaysia to go with Japanese high-speed rail option. Korea lobbies foreign firms to set up in Korea as a strategic base to access other countries with whom Korea has free-trade agreements. Volkswagen’s emission data scandal does not dent German car sales in Korea, but its sales plummet. Korea’s Trade Minister promises better environment for foreign business while business representatives press Korea to work harder. Korean Fair Trade Commission investigates Siemen’s Korea healthcare division for unfair trade practices. Korea firms work to secure major expressway project in Myanmar. Indonesia touts its plan to make things better for things in its special economic zones. Indonesia and India work to build cooperation in renewable energy which should provide new investment and trade opportunities. Malaysian officials stress the flexibilities the government won in TPP negotiations and the gains to be had for Malaysian companies. Malaysia’s Prime Minister emphasizes Malaysia’s strong place as a center for Islamic finance. Kedah state government in Malaysia encourages more investment from and cooperation with Qingdao.
November 2nd, 2015
On the eve of her trip to China, German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces pressure to push German business interests. Chinese and American negotiators begin another round of BIT negotiations. The City of Beijing moves to implement new rules opening the capital’s service sector to foreign investors. Tianjin orders ConocoPhillips to pay compensation to 21 fishermen who sued the firm for losses suffered as a result of the 2011 Bohai Bay oil spill. Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Germany (CHKD) survey indicates Chinese firms in Germany still optimistic. Mexico’s Jalisco state signs a deal with China Communications Construction Company that could lead to the development of a 500-hectare industrial park in Jalisco. Chinese investment in New Zealand farmland provokes backlash and a heated debate. Korea achieves its highest ever ranking in the World Bank’s business friendly countries' assessment. The World Economic Forum scores Korea poorly in terms of labor market efficiency. The Korea Electric Power Corporation lands Korea’s first big alternative energy project in the Middle East. Malaysian official encourages Malaysian firms to grasp Halal foods opportunities. Malaysia leaps ahead of Indonesia as an Islamic finance hub. Responding to business complaints, Indonesia eliminates rules requiring companies to hire 10 Indonesian workers for every foreign one. Thailand’s position as a business friendly country slips three places in latest World Bank study. Vietnam’s FDI, concentrated in the processing and manufacturing sectors, soars year-over-year. Vietnam shows major drop in World Bank’s business friendly country rankings, though change may be a result of report methodology changes.
October 25th, 2015
China announces plan to role out a Negative List in various regions over the next two years. Apple powers up its renewable energy initiatives in China. GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty tells official Chinese media that his company has put in place systems to ensure no bribes are paid to doctors. Xi Jinping’s visit to the U.K. leads to promise of massive Chinese investment in the Hinkley nuclear power plant. Alibaba reaches out to U.S. Trade Representative Office to highlight its efforts to fight the sale of counterfeit goods on its websites. Indonesia expresses confidence that realized investment for 2015 will exceed government goals. Falling investment in labor intensive sectors in Indonesian prompts investment authorities to press government to liberalize tax allowance policies. Thai firms, including medium-sized enterprises, increasingly engage in outward investment, especially in neighboring countries. Malaysian MPs call for legislation similar to Singapore’s that would allow for the government to punish companies associated with massively polluting Indonesia forest fires