Hot Topics for MNCs, Cool Analysis*

January 7th, 2015
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) expects stable inward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. Qualcomm taking steps to address National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) concerns, but still at risk of serious NDRC actions against it. Subway gets bitten over reports of doctored food expiration dates at a Beijing franchise. Chinese car dealer complaints to government force foreign auto companies to put on the brakes in sending cars to dealers. Facebook adjustments to user content raise questions about the company’s dealings with China. Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area connects with LinkedIn Corp. to attract talent. Japan and Thailand explore railway infrastructure cooperation. Foreign pharmaceutical firms in Korea are trying to get workers to swallow a bitter bill as they seek to downsize. Hyundai Motor wins approval from Chongqing and Changzhou to build two new car factories. Malaysia eases restrictions on Indonesian banks to further regional financial integration. Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment launches new national foreign investment information system.
December 27th, 2014
China’s State Council policy changes relating to renminbi (RMB) business for foreign banks raise interest. China’s National Development Reform Commission (NDRC) pushes Qualcomm for significant business practice changes. China’s State Council calls for new rules for foreign investment free trade zones (FTZs) planned for Guangdong, Fujian, and Tianjin. China adopts new policies designed to make it easier for Chinese companies to investment overseas. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) deals in Indonesia reveal potentially massive corruption. Chinese outward investors encounter problems relating to insufficient attention to local workers and the environment. Foxxconn’s decision to shutter Chennai phone plant leads to large worker protests. Uber runs into regulatory problems in mainland China, Taiwan, and South Korea.
December 22nd, 2014
Volkswagen (VW) struggles to fend off tech transfer demands as it seeks to increase its China joint venture (JV) stake. Avon cannot no longer gloss over its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) violations in China. Non-Chinese nuclear firms face radioactive environment in China. China looks to replace foreign technology in banks, the military, state-owned enterprises, and government agencies by 2020. China’s CGN blows wind to open nuclear doors. ITT develops various programs to address Beijing’s engineering talent shortages. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Kazakhstan Prime Minister Karim Masimov work to expand bilateral ties and upgrade Chinese investment in Kazakhstan. Sony’s premier of new comedy about North Korean leader goes black. Striking American workers burn French fry shipments to McDonald’s Japan. Japan to charge up its domestic electricity market through liberalization. China-Indonesia Investment and Trade seminar in Beijing courts Chinese investment.
December 14th, 2014
China Food and Drug Administration (CFDA) changes to marketing approval procedures threaten millions of dollars in profits for foreign pharmaceutical companies. Government reforms and demographic/income changes drive aggressive foreign health care investment in China. Qualcomm makes US $140 million investment in Chinese mobile and wireless chip firms. Mark Zuckerberg and other high-tech bigwigs “friend” Lu Wei, China’s Cyberspace Administration head. Chinese and Russian wide-body aircraft cooperation seems to be taking off. Volkswagen car safety seat CSR initiatives rolling along. China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC) builds a toehold in Australia by buying John Holland. Abenomics proves peachy for Apple. South Korea free economic zones throw out the goodies to attract more FDI. The American Chamber of Commerce and Korean Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia sign agreements to foster more investment in Indonesia. Petronas takes the plunge by striking an oil shale deal with Argentina’s YPF.
December 8th, 2014
China’s State Administration of Taxation moves to prevent tax evasion by foreign firms in China. China’s National Development and Reform Commission expected to fine Qualcomm US $1 billion as well as impose other policy changes on it. Intel will spend US $1.6 billion to upgrade its Chengdu (China) chip factory. Foreign pharmaceutical companies in China are revamp their sales models and sale performance evaluation system in response to GSK bribery scandal. Transparency International Corruption Perception survey gives very low marks to China. Chinese consortium will rebid on Mexican high-speed rail project. American retailers raise alarm about Alibaba’s possible exploitation of tax loopholes. Takata air bag scandal continues to expand. FBI highlights North Korea as behind major hack of Sony Pictures. Korean government accuses a number of foreign automakers of charging excessive high prices. Indonesian government works with foreign companies to upgrade its refineries and ensure adequate energy supplies.
November 30th, 2014
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) positive about “negative list” approach. Volkswagen touts its commitment to become the “most sustainable car manufacturer in China.” Mercedes-Benz fuels up its contribution to child and road safety initiatives. China reportedly hits Microsoft with major back tax bill. Henan allocates billions of dollars in incentives to attract Foxxconn and other multinational corporations (MNCs). China-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) expected to prompt increased Chinese investment in South Korea. Politics and competitive dynamics pressure Japanese carmakers in China. Indian Prime Minister Modi ensures supportive environment for Nissay’s investment in Reliance. Honda under fire in US for failing to report accidents and deaths for past 10 years or so. Japan looks to expand financing for defense exports and cooperation. Australia struggles to maintain a high level of foreign investment in major mining projects. Indonesia announces ambitious plans for technology and industrial parks.
November 23rd, 2014
Foreign luxury carmakers take steps to deal with a less luxurious Chinese market. Premier Li Keqiang suggests Qualcomm antitrust case may witness a win-win outcome. China hints at plans for its own cyberspace realm. China uses big hammer to deal with small nails. China Railway Construction Corporation wins massive Nigeria railway construction contract. Indian government choses Japanese trading house, Sojitz, to install power-equipment for the Delhi-Mumbai cargo railway system. Money laundering case results in Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ US $315 million fine and employee sanctions. Hitachi offers to buy railway and rail signaling sectors of Italian Industrial conglomerate Finmeccanica. Mitsubishi Corp. and Jalux partner with Myanmar’s Yoma Strategic Holdings Ltd to operate Myanmar’s second-largest airport. IKEA berated in Korea before beginning operations there. Indonesian President Jokowi assures the country about FDI’s impact. Queensland Premier Campbell Newman invites Singaporean companies to participate in infrastructure projects in Queensland
November 16th, 2014
China revises Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Catalog to open sectors and eliminate investment restrictions. Caterpillar lured by Silk Road Initiative. Lull in pressure on foreign firms in China offset by new challenges at the township level. Data on the impact of China’s “tightening” regulatory environment on FDI trends is mixed. Mexico’s cancellation of a Chinese-consortium’s winning high-speed rail bid prompts Chinese government expressions of surprise, regret, and caution. Chinese real estate investment in Japan continues to rise. Political issues in Africa affect Chinese shipper CJ Smart Cargo Group’s investment and operating decisions. Japan hosts Japan-Africa forum to encourage Japanese firms to invest in Africa. Mitsui Sumitomo Bank and Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology pursue agricultural cooperation with the UAE. Honda’s expanding Takata air bag related recall draws regulator and politician attention. US businesses seek to work with Indonesian government to help it realize a number of investment goals. APEC CEOs hear Chinese President Xi Jinping stress the need for the Asia-Pacific to enhance its physical and institutional infrastructure.
November 9th, 2014
FAW-Volkswagen stalls on massive recall issues while accelerating auto parts presence in China. Foreign companies face a taxing environment. China’s National Development and Reform Commission proposes changes to open up China wider to foreign investors. Qualcomm under siege in China and profits suffer. Chinese Minister-Counselor in the UK voices concern about British visa restrictions on Chinese workers while touting Chinese firm contributions to the UK. Huawei tunes into Namibian ICT workers for training at its Shenzhen HQ. Transparency International bites at Chinese company disclosures. Foreign countries look to Japan for defense technology cooperation. Japanese utilities partner with Singaporean and Indian firms to reduce the cost of LNG imports. Brazil, Mitsui, and the Japanese government cooperate on Brazilian subway project. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration pushes Honda for information regarding the Japanese auto parts maker Takata’s defective air bags recall. Australia and Fiji look to reinvigorate trade and investment links. Hyundai-Kia pays US massive fine for overstating car fuel efficiency. Iran reaches out to Indonesia to express interest in investments in Indonesia’s oil and gas sectors.
November 2nd, 2014
Hewlett-Packard networks to sell all or part of its H3C unit. China’s State Council opens, in principle, the domestic market to foreign clearing operations. Chinese industry association promulgates corporate social responsibility guidelines for Chinese outward mining investment. Xiaomi looks to start Indian data center to deal with worries about the security of user data. Lenovo-Google deal for Motorola Mobility concludes unexpectedly quickly. Japan and Turkey move to bulk up business and cultural cooperation. Japan rush to get gas from Louisiana shale oil plant in which Japanese firms invested. Japan expects new Indonesian trade minister’s multifaceted ties with Japan to boost economic links. South Korean court orders Japanese firm to pay compensation to World War II era slave laborers. Singapore moving to exploit multinational corporations growing interests in Southeast Asia. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reports the situation of small- and medium-enterprises in China is troubled.