Hot Topics for MNCs, Cool Analysis*
December 16th, 2019
UIBE Institute of International Economy 2019 Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) report recommends China do more to enhance the business environment for FDI such as allowing the market to play a greater role in the allocation of resources. Chinese government orders all government offices and public institutions to remove foreign computer hardware and software by 2022. United States (US) National Defense Authorization Act bans use of federal funds to purchase buses and passenger cars made by Chinese manufacturers, which will hurt BYD’s US operations. Pakistan established new China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) authority to expedite the progress of the initiative. Labor Union at Uber Eats Tokyo cannot stomach the latter’s unilateral decision to lower the base pay of workers. Australian Competition and Consumer Commission suggests too early for Asahi Group to toast its plan to buy Anheuser-Busch InBev’s local Australia operations. South Korea’s reported inward FDI (IFDI) tops USD $20 billion for the fifth consecutive year, though realized IFDI often falls far short of reported figures. Korean consortium HPH Joint Venture may lose multi-billion bid to build metro in Panama due to reported Chinese pressures for a review of the bid award.
December 10th, 2019
Per Chinese media, the Chinese government is on the verge of promulgating its “unreliable entities” list which will identify foreign companies that may be subject to sanctions. Beijing municipality moves to open its service sector to a wide variety of firms, though limitations will remain in some areas. Pledged foreign direct investment (FDI) from China into Vietnam surges to record levels over first 11 months of 2019. Online survey suggests that individuals in major Latin American countries have a generally positive view of Chinese FDI, though Japanese and German firms rank higher. Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry proposes public-private team involving foreign and domestic players to develop mechanisms to fight fake news. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) survey finds Japanese companies overseas increasingly pessimistic about effect of global events on their revenues. United States (US) chip firm Qualcomm fails to win overturning of record anti-monopoly fine by Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC and will take its case to Korean Supreme Court. SK Innovation, spurred by changing Chinese government policies regarding electric vehicle (EV) batteries, increasing EV manufacturing presence in China.
November 26th, 2019
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issues new negative list for market access. Despite trade war with United States (US) and slowing economic growth, China witnesses solid inward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows for 1st 10th months of 2019. FDI in China’s insurance sector shows notable developments in 2019. All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese encourages overseas Chinese businesspeople to get involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Japan’s Diet passes new investment law that tighten review criteria for inward FDI. Japanese firms may not see worse repercussions from Japan-South Korea political frictions. South Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) to create special task force to examine potential unfair business practices by domestic and foreign technology companies. Korea will leverage Korea-ASEAN 2019 Smart City Fair to promote Korean business involvement in smart city development.
November 17th, 2019
According to a German Chamber of Commerce survey, a large percentage of German companies plan on boosting their foreign direct investment (FDI) in China over the next two years. The United States (US)–China trade war and rising costs in China unlikely to led to exodus of FDI outside China because no country possesses the entire package of advantages China does. China MOFCOM reports that China’s non-financial outward FDI (OFDI) grew almost 6 percent over the first 10 months of 2019 year-over-year. US National Defense Authorization Act language may terminate the availability of federal funds to buy electric buses made by BYD at its California factory. South Korean airlines are closing offices in Japan as well as suspending or reducing flights to Japan because of falling tourism resulting from Korea-Japan tensions. Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh calls on the latter to provide economic incentives and improve policy stability. LG Chem asks the US International Trade Commission to rule quickly on its trade secrets theft case against SK Innovation. Hyundai Heavy Industries submits formal request to European Union (EU) asking for approval of its planned merger Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering
November 11th, 2019
China’s Ministry of Justice promulgates draft implementation rules for the country’s new foreign direct investment (FDI) law which contains a lot of positive news regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and trade secrets. China rejects European Chamber of Commerce claims about the possibility of “promise fatigue.” China’s State Council issues 20 opinions with a strong emphasis on breaking down foreign entry and operating barriers in the banking, securities, and fund management sectors. Consultancy reports that China’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity jumped in 3rd quarter of 2019 versus 2nd, though it remained far under the highs of 2014. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission survey points out a number of internet giant practices that may violate the country’s anti-monopoly law. The United Kingdom’s Brexit is affecting an increasing amount of Japanese there such as by forcing them to develop alternative supply chains. China’s move to end subsidy programs for electric vehicles may give South Korean companies in China new business opportunities. South Korea’s Alliex partners with Vietnam’s Central on cashless payment system in Korea.
November 4th, 2019
Chinese Vice Minister promises better treatment and protections for foreign direct investment (FDI), no forced tech transfers, and more rapid opening of financial sector. United States (US) contemplates new methods for increasing China’s protection of US intellectual property (IP) such as blacklisting repeat IP right violators. Chinese Ambassador in Malaysia stresses the needs for Chinese companies to deliver the goods as well as respect local laws and customs. Massive Laos high-speed rail project has many problems and multiple critics, but likely to continue given country’s desire to surmount its landlocked status. Japan’s Finance Ministry works to counter anxieties about Japan’s new FDI review regime by, among other things, providing more specifics. Toyota breaks with Honda about backing California’s new automobile emissions standards. Executives at Samsung Electronics and Samsung BioLogics faced serious accounting fraud charges relating to the revaluation of a stake in a US joint venture. Rising number of Korean firms in China report that they are increasingly affected by US-trade war.
October 27th, 2019
China’s draft implementing foreign direct investment (FDI) law regulations draw generally positive comments from key foreign industry associations. Senior China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) official touts his country’s progress in enhancing the enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPR). Senior United States (US) senators ask for review of TikTok for potential counterintelligence risks as well as censorship. Tanzania revamps terms of USD $10 billion Bagamoyo port project for China Merchants Holdings International. Brexit and slow growth prospects in Japan lead Japan’s Hitachi to pursue opportunities in the US and Thailand. Japan’s Uniqlo pulls commercial airing in Korea that seemed to mock victims of wartime forced labor as well as comfort women. Iraq’s Port Authority awards South Korea’s Daewoo contract for prefabrication yard that is part of its Al Faw new port project. South Korean firms both suffer and gain from US restrictions against Huawei.
October 21st, 2019
At a State Council meeting, China promised more action to eliminate restrictive policies on foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s State Council announced new measures to expand the opening of its financial sector to foreign banks and insurers. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reported that China’s non-financial outward FDI grew 3.8 percent for the 1st three quarters of 2019 year-over-year (YOY), a slight improvement over the prior YOY period. Per a high ranking Cambodian official, for the period 2016 to August 2019 China was his country’s largest investor, with the Belt and Road facilitating this. Japan may exempt asset management companies, including hedge funds, from its new FDI review regime. A no-deal Brexit might significantly impair the value of Nissan’s FDI in the United Kingdom (UK). Strikes at GM Korea and other issues have dented Korea’s exports. Doosan Group’s move to transfer its data storage and protection system to Amazon Web Services raises concerns about development of local cloud computing sector.
October 12th, 2019
China Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokesman rejects claim that Beijing is forcing American companies to abandon their values. China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has put forth the specific timetable when 100 percent foreign direct investment (FDI) stakes in brokerages, futures, and fund management companies will be allowed. United States (US) Senator Marco Rubio has sent a letter to the US Department of the Treasury requesting a national security review of China’s Beijing ByteDance Technology Co.’s acquisition of Musical.ly. US sanctions may have driven China National Petroleum Corporation’s dismissal from Iran’s South Pars field Phase 11 project. Japan and South Korea will soon have consultations relating to South Korea’s World Trade Organization case against Japanese export controls. Pressure from international institutions and business considerations are driving Japanese firms to pay more attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR) issues in their Southeast Asian supply chains. Korea witnesses growth in inward FDI for the first time in five quarters, with strength in new industrial sectors. Samsung Electronics contemplate major semiconductor FDI in Xian despite poor macro-political and economic conditions because of needs of Chinese government and customers.
October 7th, 2019
China’s Financial Stability and Development Committee recently emphasized that the country will take further steps to promote “two-way financial opening.” Despite China’s general and targeted efforts to bring in more foreign investors, investors are holding back on investments partly because of China’s capital controls. It appears that Chinese venture capital (VC) flows into the US for 2019 will run even lower than 2015, a particularly abysmal year for VC investment. Iraq has said that it will sign on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. The Japanese government has submitted a bill to the Diet pursuant to which the threshold for reviewing foreign direct investment (FDI) in sensitive sectors will plunge from 10 to 1 percent. Japan-Korea parliamentary unions work to facilitate the resolution of Japan-Korea economic and political tensions, though their actual influence seems limited. Automobile production by foreign firms in Korea is plunging to post-Great Financial Crisis levels due in part to labor problems. US President Donald Trump tweets for joy about Hyundai Motor Group’s joint venture with Aptiv.