MNCs in the News*
December 12th, 2017
Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang promises significantly better environment for foreign investors. Lego pieces together blocks of winning copyright case in China. Sinopec USA fires up lawsuit against Venezuelan state oil giant PDVSA. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman describes Sinopec USA lawsuit against PDVSA as a normal commercial dispute and cautions against blowing things out of proportion. Nissan files charges in international arbitration court against Indian government for reneging on promised tax breaks. Melco vowed to build headquarters in Japan if it were to be approved casino license following country’s recent legalization of casinos. Improving Sino-Korean political relations giving hope to LG Display that its planned Chinese production facility will finally be approved by Seoul. SK Engineering & Construction to build and run hydropower plant in Pakistan, the first such project for a South Korean company in the country, before returning control to Islamabad. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group expected to invest at least USD $1.8 billion in PT Bank Danamon Indonesia and will work closely to meet Jakarta’s regulatory requirements. Jakarta to buy Rio Tinto’s 40 percent stake in Freeport-McMoRan operated Grasberg mine as part of its efforts to gain control of country’s natural resources. Bangkok considering new non-tariff barriers to EVs in anticipation of increased imports of Chinese EVs resulting from ASEAN-China FTA. Thailand’s CT Bright has joined with China’s HNA Group to set up an investment fund for Thailand’s EEC. Kuala Lumpur making new efforts to promote investment in automation and smart manufacturing. Malaysia’s Prime Minister calls on foreign businesses to renew investment in the country. Hanoi grants investment certificate to Sumitomo Corporation for USD $2.58 billion thermal power plant in Vietnam’s Van Phong Economic Zone.
December 5th, 2017
German business association warns Chinese Communist Party request that foreign firms set up party cells may have adverse consequences. Chinese government advisor suggests Shanghai will create free-trade port represents that addresses the failings of the previous Shanghai Free Trade Zone initiative. Shanghai body asks IKEA to consider a new round of dresser and chest recalls. China’s National Development and Reform Commission promulgates list of penalties that Beijing may impose on firms that engage in illegal outward foreign direct investment (FDI) and related activities. Japanese Court to hear Toshiba Western Digital dispute on sale of flash memory division. SoftBank Group to invest USD $2.5 billion in India’s Flipkart as India’s anti-trust commission approves deal. Seoul and London sign memorandum of understanding easing approval process for Korea’s KEPCO to acquire Britain’s NuGen. Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co. and POSCO Daewoo Corp. win Uzbekistan power plant deal. Jakarta has not finalized plans yet for Freeport deal as parties continue to disagree about mine’s valuation. Indonesia’s state-owned utility company Pembangkitan Kawa Bali and Abu Dhabi Future Energy agree to build world’s largest floating photovoltaic power plant. Bangkok approves USD $22.6 billion infrastructure investment in Eastern Economic Corridor, paving the way for more foreign investment projects. Thai firm will build massive power plant in Myanmar despite international outrage over Myanmar’s abuse of Rohingya. Malaysia’s central bank approves larger China’s HNA Group ownership stake in Germany’s Deutsche Bank subsidiary despite initial concerns. Foreign brewing companies eagerly await sale of Vietnam’s state-owned brewer Sabeco. Foreign M&As of Vietnamese business entities rising as Hanoi increases foreign ownership limits and privatizes state-owned enterprises.
November 28th, 2017
Skype loses Apple app store connection in China due to government regulation. Illegal overtime at Apple supplier Foxconn plant in Henan stopped. Chinese official reports Chinese firms employed more than 1.3 million people abroad in 2016. According to Chinese railway authorities, China has 20 overseas railway projects right now with investment around $15 billion. Bad press on Uber’s data theft cover-up may push SoftBank to renegotiate the terms of USD $10 billion investment deal due to impending legal action. Air bag maker Takata finalizes agreement to sell assets to Chinese owned Key Safety Systems to obtain cash needed to cover court imposed penalties. US trade commission’s proposed import tariffs on washing machines may lead Samsung and LG to reassess whether building new US factories would still be beneficial. South Korea’s SK Group sells used car affiliate to Australia’s Carsales Holdings in face of government barriers to further expansion. Indonesian government looking for more than USD $800 million in private foreign investment to develop tourism near Lake Toba. Real Estate Indonesia invites Japanese developers to engage in housing projects after Japan’s Prime Minister reaffirmed his country’s commitment to increasing investment in Indonesia. DHL to invest over USD $350 million to develop its IT services in Malaysia, contributing to Kuala Lumpur’s national digital transformation agenda. Nestlé selects Malaysia for global procurement hub investment as Malaysian Minister announces Kuala Lumpur strives to position the country as a preferred investment destination. Jardine Matheson and Fraser and Neave seek to increase stakes in Vinamilk as Vietnam continues to divest in its state-owned industries, albeit cautiously. Hanoi cooperating with World Bank to create new regulations to increase FDI in Vietnam as country seeks to diversify FDI sources.
November 20th, 2017
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports slow growth in inward foreign direct investment (FDI) over the first 10 months of 2017. China dangles prospect of freer car ventures for foreign investors if they meet certain conditions regarding where they invest and what they produce. To meet government requirements, Amazon Web Services sells the physical assets for its China cloud business to local Chinese partner. MOFCOM announces plunge in growth of outward FDI (OFDI) between January and October 2017, linked to its effort to control irrational investment. Troubled Toshiba to sell TV and visual solutions subsidiary to China’s Hisense to obtain cash needed to deal with the fallout of regulatory changes that bankrupted its American nuclear business. SoftBank to invest up to USD $25 billion in Saudi Arabia to support Crown Prince’s agenda. Hyundai sent Vice Chairman to US to develop response to Trump Administration’s desire to revise Korean-US Free Trade Agreement. Hyundai confirmed expansion of its Alabama plant ahead of KORUS FTA negotiations. Tadmax Resources partnering with Korea’s state-owned Korea Electric Power Corp to build USD $840 million power plant in Malaysia. Malaysia’s state-owned Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Indonesian state-owned utility company PT PLN to build coal-fired power plant in Kalimantan.
November 8th, 2017
The door partly closes on North Korean businesses in China as Beijing tightens sanctions. Analysis reveals Springer Nature has been blocking access to articles in China. Consultancy report highlights expectations of greater Chinese outward investment over the next 12 months with the Belt and Road Initiative anticipated to be a key causal force. The Philippines secures USD $6 billion in Japanese investments after President Duterte’s official visit to Japan. Mitsui Engineering and Shipbuilding Co. to build crane manufacturing plant in Indonesia’s Batam Island free trade zone to take advantage of incentives. South Korean government hopes to prepare host of large-scale investments in China to be announced during upcoming China-South Korea summit. South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy to decide upon approval of LG Display’s politically sensitive proposed multibillion-dollar OLED production facility investment in China. Indonesia’s FDI shows good growth in the third quarter. Indonesia’s Finance Minister challenges stigmas associated with Chinese investment. Central Group and JD.com announce USD $528 million open system online marketplace JV that links to government’s 4.0 initiative. Thailand’s state-owned PTT Exploration and Production booked another impairment charge due to its delay in moving ahead with investment on its Canadian Mariana Oil Sands project. In its annual report, the Malaysian government stresses positive impacts of the Belt and Road Initiative for the country and the region. Japanese ODA programs increasingly attracting Japanese investors to Vietnam. Vietnam expects USD $30 billion FDI by end of 2017 with majority of investment coming from APEC countries.
October 31st, 2017
Shanghai Customs touts 18,000 firms registered in Shanghai Free Trade Zone (SFTZ) since its creation in 2013. State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission head stresses that state-owned enterprises (SOEs) will play a “leading role” going forward. Toyota claims reduced investment and production at Trump targeted planned Mexican plant not due to politics. Toyota calls for more clarity regarding Brexit plans before deciding to finalize its planned plant in Britain. South Korea’s minister of trade met with Saudi Arabian counterpart to discuss Korea’s planned bid for two nuclear reactors. Korea Development Bank planning to sell stake in Daewoo Engineering and Construction, prompting bids from various notable firms. Airbus planning on partnering with Indonesian state-owned aerospace company Dirgantara Indonesia to build maintenance facility in Indonesia. Riau Andalan Pulp and Paper requests legal certainty for Indonesian investment regarding environmental regulations. Thai Airways International granted permission by the government to enter into joint investment project with Airbus. Thailand’s National Council for Peace and Order approves guidelines for land development in the country’s EEC. Belt and Road Property Development Forum 2018 to draw USD $1.5 billion investments from Malaysia to China. Malaysian minister says no investment deal was finalized during Malaysian government delegation visit to the US. Korean companies shifting investment away from China’s politically difficult market into Vietnam. Southern Vietnam province continues to attract Japanese investment as local People’s Committee aims to ease business concerns.
October 31st, 2017
At 19th Party Congress, China promises greater market openness for foreign investors, but foreign businesses and governments cautious. Top China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) official says foreign banks may get more latitude in entering and operating in China’s banking sector. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) plummeted 41.9 percent over the first nine months of 2016 year-over-year. In the first three quarters of 2016, Chinese outward merger and acquisitions activity drops significantly in both deal volume and size. Toyota and Mazda seek USD $1 billion incentive package from US states bidding for their joint car factory. SoftBank Group struggling to carry out US investments after several of its deals have been caught up in the CFIUS review process. US Department of Justice demands Kobe Steel release all information related to it falsified steel and metal data. SK-Sinopec JV to expand its Wuhan Petrochemical plant mirroring success of SK Innovation’s China Insider strategy. Korean battery manufacturers finding backdoors into the Chinese market despite Chinese government’s preferential treatment of domestic firms. Indonesia works to attract private investment despite bad atmosphere created by problems with Freeport-McMoran. Freeport-McMoRan facing labor union protests over anticipated layoffs. New US-Thai joint committee formed to increase bilateral investment following Thai Prime Minister’s recent US visit. Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industries leads trade mission to Europe to attract German investment. MITI reports a decline in investments this year. Vietnamese government begins implementing its divestment plan for Dung Quat Oil Refinery, attracts foreign investors. Foreign brewers eagerly awaiting Vietnamese government’s divestment plans for country’s largest domestic brewer Sabeco.
October 17th, 2017
American businesses not uniformly in favor of Washington moving aggressively against China about the latter’s intellectual property right (IPR) violations. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) approves HP-Samsung printer deal subject to conditions. China’s high-speed rail project in Thailand off track due to environmental approval issues. Sinopec to sell Argentine oil assets and incur major losses in the process. Denso Corp. announces plans for USD $1 billion EV plant in Tennessee, designed to meet changing government automobile and environmental demands. Toyota reaffirms intent to build new Auris in UK, provided the British government avoids hard Brexit deal. Chinese investment in South Korea drops due Chinese government restrictions, hitting the South Korean economy. Korean retailers to shift from China to Southeast Asia as business and political tensions between Korea and China show no signs of improvement. Indonesia needs foreign investment to develop 30 ports and airports and Jakarta is supporting great foreign investment through deregulation and other measures. Indonesian and Belgian firms sign three infrastructure development memoranda of understanding to profit from Indonesia’s attractiveness. Sumitomo forms Thai real estate market joint venture (JV) to profit from the Thai government development of the country’s infrastructure. Thailand’s National Legislative Assembly approves new Eastern Economic Corridor stimulus bill in a move to attract foreign investment. Malaysian government attracts Chinese firm to build USD $3 billion steel production plant in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Vietnam attracted over USD $25 billion in foreign direct investment in the first three quarters of this year owing to its political stability. Asian investors turning to Vietnam for expansion opportunities as domestic markets shrink and Hanoi opens key industries to investors.
October 10th, 2017
China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) spokesperson stresses that China’s industrial policies will not discriminate against foreign firms. China’s favoritism towards state-owned enterprises (SOEs) not only pressures domestic firms, put foreign companies, too. Bain led consortium still hopes to conclude Toshiba deal despite litigation by competing bidder Western Digital. Chinese authorities announce Honda will recall over 245,000 vehicles in China because of concerns about Takata made air bags. China’s MOFCOM allows HP Inc. to buy Samsung Electronics’ printer business subject to certain restrictions. Samsung and LG to invest in US production facilities to avoid Trump administration protectionist tariffs and setbacks. Tesla Motors to increase investment in Korean electric vehicle infrastructure because of recent changes in Korean government subsidy policies. Only 27 percent of foreign investment pledges for Indonesia fulfilled in the last 10 years causing Indonesian government to undertake corrective action. Freeport-McMoran rejects Indonesian government’s latest divestment plan. Singha Estate Plc announces USD $1.5 billion project spurred by Thai and Maldivian governments’ efforts to promote tourism in both countries. Honeywell first multinational company to participate in the Malaysian Investment Development Authority’s Principle Hub Initiative. Moody’s calls attention to fact that tensions on Korean peninsula may seriously affect Korean investment in Vietnam. Vietnam’s Chamber of Commerce and Industry to host events to attract more Japanese investment.
October 4th, 2017
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) notes possibility China may expand its negative list approach nationwide as early as 2018. State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) representatives encourage foreign investors to partake in China’s mixed-ownership reform of state-owned enterprises (SOEs). At the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United States (US) asks China to hold off implementing its cybersecurity law. US Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States opposition torpedoes Chinese bid to take a 10 percent stake in Dutch mapping company. Kobe Steel Ltd and US Steel Corp. to launch US joint venture to produce steel needed to build cars that meet their respective governments’ tightening emissions standards. Sumitomo has invested in Taiwanese electric scooter maker Gogoro to tap Gogoro’s advanced electronic battery technologies which are in increasing demand due to rising environmental standards. Unilever acquires Carver Korea as Korean makeup brand weakens due to declining sales in China resulting from THAAD tensions. Despite suffering from China’s THAAD related sanctions, Hyundai opens big data center in China to tap Chinese government’s promotion of connected cars. Indonesia's Transportation Ministry opens 12 infrastructure projects worth a total of USD $3 billion to foreign investors. Indonesia’s Indika Energy raises stake in large local coal producer after forced Freeport-McMorRan divesture and new Indonesian government policies drive Korea’s Samtan to reduce its stake in the country. Vietnam’s Ministry of Finance says equitisation progress of state-owned enterprises so far disappointing. World Bank and Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade collaborate to implement solar projects pilot auction program.