MNCs in the News*
February 6th, 2018
2018 China Business Climate Survey Report indicates "American companies overwhelmingly feel less welcome than before…and want the U.S. government to put more pressure on Beijing." American jury finds Chinese wind turbine maker Sinovel of stealing trade secrets that cost American Superconductor Inc. $800 million. Australia tightens rules relating to sale of power and agricultural assets to foreign investors. United Arab Emirates' state-owned Abu Dhabi Oil Company to expand partnerships with Japanese petrochemical companies. Muji's China subsidiary maps out new catalog strategy after Beijing criticizes its portrayal of boundaries. POSCO E&C withdraws from project to build steel mill in Iran because of high political tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Samsung Engineering resolves conflict with Omani government over USD $1 billion construction deal with Oman's state-owned refinery company Oil Refineries and Petroleum Industries Company. Pertamina awards USD $10 billion refinery project to consortium of Omani and Japanese businesses. Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group proposes to merge its Indonesian subsidiary with local Indonesian lender to take advantage of Jakarta's banking consolidation drive. Royal Dutch Shell sells control of Thai Bongkot gas field to Thailand's state-owned gas producer PTT Exploration and Production for USD $750 million after failed effort to sell to non-Thai buyer. Thailand's largest state-owned petrochemical company PTT Global Chemical partners with Korea's Daelim Industrial to build USD $5.7 billion petrochemical plant in Ohio. Alibaba Group partnering with Malaysian Government's Digital Economy Corporation to set up artificial intelligence traffic system in capital. Malaysia's state-owned oil company Petronas acquired 6 oil and gas blocks for undisclosed amount from Mexican government in recent auction. Four foreign investors registered to become strategic investors in Vietnam's GENCO 3 as the Hanoi seeks to offload shares of the company. PetroVietnam Gas looking to gain Hanoi's approval to divest 30 percent of its stock to a foreign strategic investor.
January 23rd, 2018
Various Chinese government agencies press foreign companies to ensure websites respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Shanghai consumer council not peachy about Apple's alleged old battery induced phone slowdown. China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) announces that Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) drops by almost 30 percent in 2017 year-over-year. US Congressmen urge AT&T to hang up interactions with Huawei leading China to call for level playing field. Mexico's state-owned oil provider Pemex selects Mitsui as partner for USD $2.6 billion coking plant. Mitsubishi partners with Vietnamese government to promote electric vehicles. South Korea's antitrust watchdog concludes Qualcomm must adhere to new requirements to complete its USD $38 billion NXP acquisition. South Korean companies increasingly turning to joint ventures to mitigate risk and reduce setbacks due to political turmoil. Indonesian government pushing for Saudi Arabian firms to invest USD $1.6 billion in new light rail transit line. Indonesian government wants to attract more foreign investment in its financial institutions. Thai government's incentives for eco-friendly cars drive Mazda to invest USD $357 million to upgrade its Rayong plant to produce hybrid electric vehicles. Thailand's BoI expects applications for foreign investment to increase to USD $22.6 due to improved political relationships with both US and EU. Malaysia's Permodalan Nasional and state-operated EPF plan to buy Britain's Battersea Power Station Project for USD $2.2 billion. Mitsubishi to expand its operations in Vietnam boosted by Vietnamese government incentives. Pending government approval, Amata Corporation plans to invest USD $485 million in Vietnam.
January 16th, 2018
China moving to make Free Trade Zones (FTZs) freer. China punishes Marriott over survey that lists Hong Kong, Macao, and Tibet as independent countries. Apple’s iCloud darkens as it transfers the service to a Chinese company that will operate it and keep all data in China. French Finance Minister welcomes Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in France provided it is not “looting.” President Donald Trump’s pressure seems to have driven Toyota and Mazda to select Alabama for USD $1.6 billion production facility. NEC acquires Northgate Public Services for USD $640 million following the British government’s promotion of digitalization. South Korea’s state-operated Korean Development Bank sets price floor on sale of struggling construction firm Daewoo Engineering & Construction. Hyundai invests in Singapore’s Grab in effort to expand in Southeast Asia and reduce reliance on the tumultuous China market. Indonesia’s Ministry of Finance to reevaluate investment attraction programs after no companies applied in 2017. Jakarta and Freeport-McMoRan seek to resolve by June a host of operational issues that plague the future of Grasberg mine. Nissan shortlists Thailand as possible location for Asia-Pacific EV manufacturing facility due to Thai investment incentives. Thai Minister says Chinese investment into country’s rubber plantations must be carefully considered and not impact local farmers. Johor Sultan invests USD $100 million in Sri Lanka’s first pharmaceutical manufacturing sector. New policy decree by Hanoi allows foreign enterprises to provide logistics services in Vietnam. Several of Vietnam’s efforts to divest state-owned enterprises at the end of 2017 did not catch much investor attention.
January 9th, 2018
Chinese drug approval authorities likely to approve several blockbuster foreign drugs in 2018. Hyundai Motor Group faces declining sales growth in 2018 in large part due to political and economic challenges in China. China State-Owned Assets Supervision and Advisory Commission (SASAC) to issue new guidelines to improve behavior of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) in various areas. United States (US) Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) concerns leads China’s Ant Financial and US MoneyGram to terminate the former’s acquisition of the latter. Japan’s Toshiba Corp sells floundering US nuclear business Westinghouse, which went bankrupt after regulations and other factors stalled many of its projects, to Canada’s Brookfield. US legal process for Takata Corp.’s US unit coming to completion, which should allow company to make payouts to claimants who suffered from Takata’s faulty airbags. Korea urges US policy makers to reconsider the US International Trade Commission's recommended special tariff on imported Korean washers. Lotte Group struggling to shed its politically troubled Chinese hypermarket chain after talks with Thai conglomerate failed to produce agreeable sale price. Indonesia’s state-owned energy company Pentamina took back control of Indonesia’s largest oil and gas block helping Jakarta to expand its control over domestic energy production. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board launches several measures to spur 10 to 14 percent year on year growth in FDI. Thailand’s Board of Investment expects FDI into its EEC to continue to grow as new EEC policies are implemented and foreign companies become familiar with EEC requirements. Chinese FDI into Malaysia is expected to move out of infrastructure and property development and into new sectors due to China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Japanese Ambassador touts that Japanese firms have a good chance to win Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail project. Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has set a new deadline for long delayed Chinese-funded Cat Linh rail project
January 5th, 2018
Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China’s service sector shows strong performance in 2017 with observers recommending various improvements to draw in more. China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) is concerned about surges in mobile chips and may launch an investigation. The China Banking Regulatory Commission has published draft rules that would make it easier for foreign banks to enter China and expand their businesses there. NDRC minister says China is considering passing legislation that would improve supervision of outward FDI (OFDI) and clarify the limits that exist. Japan’s Sumitomo among foreign bidders for Indian Railways’ first global tender. Japan’s Kubota to join USD $92 million project to improve water supply infrastructure in Yangon following local government order. LG Display receives green light from Seoul to build USD $4.5 billion OLED production plant in Guangzhou. South Korea’s state-owned Korea Gas Corporation finally collects return on its 2010 investment into Australia’s liquefied natural gas sector. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group posed to gain approval from Jakarta to purchase 73.8 percent of Bank Danamon Indonesia. Major foreign motorbike companies to build production and assembly plants in Thailand as government investment packages continue to proliferate. UK firms looking to bid on light rail transit and construction projects from Malaysian government. Japan surpasses South Korea to become largest investor in Vietnam in 2017 as Hanoi attracts more foreign money for infrastructure investment.
December 27th, 2017
China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) official says Code of Conduct and Blacklist governing outward foreign direct investment (FDI) by private firms on the horizon. China’s outward FDI (OFDI) Code of Conduct calls for no bribery, environmental impact assessments, and respect for Chinese and host-country rules. Britain’s nuclear regulator approves Hitachi’s plans for advanced boiling water nuclear reactor. Financially troubled, state-backed Japan Display looking to attract over USD $1.8 billion in Chinese investment. Lotte Group shifting investment from China to Indonesia as part of Southern Eastern Policy after domestic Chinese conditions continue to cause company financial difficulties. South Korean and Chinese ministers reach agreement to lift retaliatory measures against Korean battery makers operating in China.
December 20th, 2017
China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) announces plan to ease requirements for foreign banks wanting to conduct yuan trading. Government restrictions put brakes on the progress of foreign autonomous vehicle development in China. Wisconsin to power it up to meet future Foxconn plant’s electricity needs. Economist Intelligence Unit finds that the United Kingdom’s attractiveness to Chinese investors dropped severely from 2015 to this year. Japan and the EU conclude talks on a free trade deal, however investment dispute settlement issues remain unresolved. Toshiba and Western Digital end legal battle over flash memory unit sale, though antitrust screening in big global markets could obstruct the unit’s sale. Samsung and LG expanding employment and investment in Vietnam in the wake of Hanoi’s efforts to attract foreign companies. Hyundai Motor Co. sets up JV in Indonesia in wake of South Korean President Moon’s New South Policy. Indonesia’s Gunung Steel Group and China’s Shenwu Technology Corp to build USD $3 billion steel plant in line with Jakarta’s goal to increase country’s steel production capacity. Singapore’s APRIL Group lodges case against Indonesian government through its Indonesian unit RAPP. Thai Beverage only foreign firm to bid for large share in Vietnam’s state-owned brewing company Sabeco. Jacobs Douwe Egberts to buyout Malaysia’s OldTown with deal conditional upon approval from Malaysian antitrust authorities. BRG Group and Sumitomo Corporation to finalize plans for USD $4 billion smart city in Hanoi as local government pledges to create favorable conditions for its execution.
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.