MNCs in the News*
May 16th, 2018
Apple denies taking a bite out of its customers. Official Chinese data indicate that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) grew healthily in the 1st quarter of 2018. China Three Gorges charges up to take full control of Portugal’s EDP which is drawing political scrutiny. Chinese investment in Malaysia big election issue. British government proposes USD $18.2 billion in loans for Hitachi’s Wales nuclear plant. Uniqlo to enter Indian market in fall 2019 as Indian government initiatives attract foreign retailers to the country. General Motors to move Asia-Pacific headquarters to South Korea to show Seoul commitment to its revitalized Korean operations. Elliot seeking legal action against Korean government for USD $670 million it claims to have lost from merger of two Samsung affiliates. Mahathir says Malaysia may renegotiate some deals with China following his coalition’s victory.
May 8th, 2018
China’s financial sector opening seems to be bearing fruit in terms of catalyzing applications by foreign firms to enter the China market. China’s liberalization of its aircraft sector giving flight to new opportunities for foreign companies in the aviation industry. In partnership with Irish development authorities, Chinese pharmaceutical firm makes major greenfield investment in Ireland. Chinese accountancy expands in the United Kingdom (UK) to service growing China-UK investment and trade. Hitachi considering Taiwan plant as Asian hub after winning bid for Taiwan Power offshore wind turbines project. Japanese traders competing to expand poultry businesses by importing from abroad after Japanese ministry sanctioned the import of Turkish chicken. Korean battery manufacturers such ramping up investment in China in preparation for the end of Beijing’s electric vehicle subsidy. Following historic summit between the two Koreas began plans for joint development projects and South Korean investment into the North. Arkema and CJ CheilJedang to invest over USD $300 million in Malaysian Kerteh Biopolymer Park as Malaysian, French and Korean authorities jointly promote facility.
May 1st, 2018
Foreign car makers hope China will speed up the auto reform parts that they desire. Puma hopping to consider other production venues if United States (US) imposes tariffs on shoes and apparel made in China. India does not offer support for China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) at recent Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) meeting. Toyota to sell Chinese partner’s electric vehicle in China to pave way for introducing own models next year. Itochu pulling out of Turkish nuclear power plant project due to surge in safety-related costs. General Motors reaches last minute deal with labor union and South Korean government to save Korean operations. State-owned Korea National Oil Corporation looking to sell Canadian Harvest oil field to repay debts incurred by its Canadian subsidiary. Opponent of incumbent Malaysian Prime Minister vows to reconsider Chinese contracts if elected. KWAP may consider stake in IAG if Prudential cannot met Malaysian central bank mandate that foreign insurers reduce ownership stakes to 70 percent.
April 23rd, 2018
China to roll out new negative lists for free-trade zones (FTZs) and other parts of the country during the first half of 2018. Foreign and publicly-listed on foreign exchanges Chinese firms move to accommodate Chinese Communist Party (CCP)’s desire for greater say. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) touts that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) grew while Chinese outward FDI in irrational areas has collapsed. Chinese investors pour money into American bio-tech firms for a variety of financial, political, and social policy reasons. Indonesia to rely on loans from Japanese government and public-private partnership schemes to fund USD $4.5 billion railway project. Honda experiencing complications with its CR-V recall plan in China as sales continue to drop. Seoul offers to give American carmaker General Motors USD $470 million to continue its Korean operations as bankruptcy looms. Multinational companies operating in South Korea increasingly under government scrutiny for malpractice. AIIB very interested in financing Malaysian infrastructure projects following a meeting between the AIIB President and Malaysia’s Prime Minister. Japan’s Nichirei Corp acquires 40 percent stake in Malaysia’s state-owned Cold Chain Network which facilitates the latter’s effort to address government development objectives.
April 16th, 2018
Observers believe China’s financial sector liberalization will draw in foreign investors and help internationalize the renminbi. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) expects outward foreign direct investment (FDI) to show good growth for the first quarter of 2018. China “insures” insurance sector will have new openings for foreign investors. Chinese outward FDI in the United States (US) showed massive drop from 2016 to 2017 for various political and economic reasons. Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) mergers and acquisitions (M&A) in 2017 jumps with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) a favored place for Chinese M&A. Troubled Takata says its acquisition by Key Safety Systems has been completed and the deal has received antitrust and bankruptcy court approvals in several countries. Ghana’s Finance Minister says African countries looking to Japan, among other Asian countries, to tap into abundant investment resources to fund Africa’s development needs. The Chinese government’s latest list of subsidy eligible electric vehicles continues to exclude South Korean battery firms. GM Korea has deadline of April 20th to submit restructuring plans for South Korean operations to government bodies. Malaysia’s Digital Free Trade Zone forecasted to attract over USD $200 million through investments on infrastructure, systems, and equipment over next three years. IHH Healthcare Bhd suggests it would spend up to USD $1.3 billion to acquire India’s Fortis Healthcare Ltd even though India’s fraud commission is investigating the company.
April 11th, 2018
Beijing’s market competition regime exerts increasing effect on global merger and acquisition (M&A) activity and foreign firm operations in China. The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) put severe constraints on Japan’s SoftBank as a condition of its acquisition of US investment group Fortress last year. Toshiba Corp. to miss March deadline to sell USD $19 billion flash memory division due to complications with China’s anti-trust regulators. Kumho Tire to finalize sale agreements with Qingdao Doublestar following its union’s vote on the sale. Lotte Group reaffirms its decision to exit its Chinese operations after China’s State Councillor pledged China would support smooth sales of Lotte Mart’s Chinese stores. Turkey’s Hitay Holdings repeats pledge to develop USD $1 billion geothermal power plant in Indonesia’s Aceh province. Indonesia’s investment board announces removal of foreign capital restrictions on investment in university and other educational ventures. Thai investors criticized for their impact on locals and the environment in Cambodia and Myanmar. Malaysia to evaluate market impact of Uber’s move to sell its Southeast Asian operations to Singapore’s Grab. Malaysia’s state-owned energy utility company Tenaga Nasional secures USD $168.77 million to refinance its 80 percent stake in two UK wind energy companies. Foreign investment in Vietnam increases due to country’s increasingly open investment environment.
April 3rd, 2018
China responds to United States (US) World Trade Organization (WTO) complaint that its technology licensing practices are not WTO compliant. Washington considers new mechanisms for reviewing and limiting Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) into the US technology sector. The Head of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board welcomes Chinese FDI as the country moves to improve its ability to minimize any related security threats. Takeda considering takeover of Irish drugmaker Shire as Japanese government seeks to tackle rising healthcare costs for its aging population. Softbank Vision Fund and Saudi Arabia to boost solar production in the Arab country. Tirebank intends to acquire Korean company Kumho Tire from Korea Development Bank because of frictions between Kumho’s workers union and Chinese buyer Doublestar. Renegotiation of South Korea-US Free Trade Agreement causes Hyundai to move production of its new pick-up truck model from Korea to the US. Pertamina reports it secured a contract with the Iranian government to take an 80 percent stake in Mansouri oil field. Jakarta put forth simplified tax holiday scheme in bid to boost investment in the country. Thailand approves USD $7.22 billion high-speed rail project to link three airports. Japanese electric vehicle producers flocking to Thailand in the wake of government promotion packages. Joint venture between Malaysia’s Yinson Holdings and PetroVietnam ordered to stop operations in Vietnamese offshore oil field due to Chinese pressure. InvestKL on track to bring in 100 multinational corporations by 2020. Hanoi announces list of sectors that would be prioritized to receive Japanese high-technology and investment. New Franco-Vietnamese investment deals signed as Vietnam’s Communist Party General Secretary visits France.
March 27th, 2018
US companies dilute proposed legislation that might have dampened their exports to/sales in China of technology. 2018 China Enterprise Cross-Border M&A Special Report shows decline in both the number and volume of Chinese merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in 2017. China’s crackdown on CEFC Energy throws into uncertainty a proposed mega investment in Russia’s Rosneft. Japanese may loosen regulations on foreign direct investment (FDI) in Japanese broadcasters. Toshiba chip sale deal awaits regulatory approval from China. South Korea company wins multi-billion bridge building contract in Turkey. South Korea and Russian companies lay foundation for cooperation in building transportation and other infrastructure for Korean peninsula and elsewhere. Indonesia’s Environment and Forestry Ministry to sue American mining company Freeport McMoRan for massive environmental damages. Indonesian official embark on road show to bring more private FDI into the country’s underfunded infrastructure projects. Thai government alarms by announcing intention to change the country’s Foreign Business Act. Malaysia finalizes deal bringing USD $7 billion of Saudi FDI into the Pengerang Integrated Complex. UAE company will pour more than USD $1 billion to develop offshore Malaysian gas site. Vietnam’s State Audit Office slaps back taxes bill on just privatized former state-owned enterprises (SOE) Sabeco. Vietnam aims to divest major portion of PetroVietnam Gas to garner strategic investment and massive amounts of funds.
March 20th, 2018
China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports small growth in inward foreign direct investment (FDI), albeit with significant growth in high-tech inward FDI (IFDI). United States (US) President Donald Trump likely to impose USD $60 billion of tariffs on Chinese goods to punish Beijing for forcing American companies to transfer technology. China's financing for Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) energy projects slows significantly in 2017. Chinese report that BRI projects are delivering living standard and work improvements to locals. Panasonic starts mass production of hybrid car batteries in China as Beijing's push for electric vehicles is expected to boost demand. JFTC raids Amazon's Japanese headquarters over suspicions that online retailing giant violated anti-trust regulations. Two Korean builders win order for a USD $740 million smart hospital project in Singapore. Kumho workers stage strike in protest of foreign ownership as Qingdao Doublestar acquires struggling South Korean tire company. Jokowi states that survey reveals that Indonesia ranks second when it comes to the world's attractive countries for investors. China has stated its intent to help fund and build what could become Indonesia's longest bridge. Honeywell repeats commitment to bring investment to and cooperate with Thailand given its plans fit the government's Thailand 4.0 vision. Mercedes-Benz and Thai JV partner to invest $123 million to build EV batteries in Thailand. Vietnamese authorities to review large foreign investment projects in the wake of withdrawal of USD $3.2 billion refinery and petrochemical project. Binh Duong province (Vietnam) grants 15 investment certificates for foreign firms investing in the region.
March 13th, 2018
China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) states China will improve noticeably market access and operating conditions for foreign direct investment (FDI) this year. American Chamber of Commerce in South China reports that number one concern of American businesses in China because of the is China's cybersecurity law. European Union (EU) may adopt legislation relating to inward FDI this year as a result of rising security concerns especially where Chinese FDI involved. Beijing's controls on outward Chinese FDI do not dent Fosun acquisition spree in clothing and luxury goods areas. Nissan in talks with Renault to acquire bulk of French state's 15 percent Renault stake. Japanese companies still waiting to see what happens with Great Britain's EU Brexit negotiations before deciding how to react to Brexit. GM Korea to ask Korean government to make its Korean factory sites foreign investment zones so it can get tax concessions. Doublestar reaches agreement with Korea Development Bank on purchase of 45 percent stake in Kumho Tire as union protests continue. Jakarta makes it easier to invest in energy and mineral sector by reducing regulations and licensing burdens. Prudential in talks with Malaysia's second largest pension fund to sell 30 percent stake in Malaysian unit following Malaysian central bank move to reduce foreign investment stakes. Telekom Malaysia signs memorandum of understanding with Huawei to work together on expanding fiber broadband network reach in Malaysia. Vietnam revokes investment license for foreign-owned oil refinery project. Legal expert says that foreign investors are interested in developing infrastructure projects in Vietnam including the North-South highway but hesitate because of legal problems.