MNCs in the News*
September 25th, 2017
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) promises measures to create a better environment for foreign direct investment (FDI). China courts foreign investment in its energy sector to advance its reform initiatives. European Union (EU) Chamber of Commerce in China releases position paper detailing many areas of concern among its members about China’s policies towards inward FDI (IFDI). Chinese expresses concern about possible implications of proposed EU wide investment screening scheme. Toshiba selects consortium to take over its politically contentious USD $21 billion semiconductor business. Prime Minister May visits Japan as Japanese firms become more hesitant about continued investment in Britain due to Brexit’s slow and uncertain progress. Economic and security concerns prompt Korea’s Industry Ministry to review investment plans by South Korean semiconductor and display companies seeking expansion in China. State-owned Korea Electric Corp. represents South Korea in a bid to build Saudi Arabia’s first nuclear energy plant. Indonesia’s demand for steel is expected to rise substantially within the decade, triggering calls to improve investment conditions for steel producers. Foreign investment in Indonesian startups reaches USD $3 billion so far this year with Chinese FDI patterns shaped by government initiatives. New Thai Digital Park proposed, opening new potential vistas for foreign investors. Sumitomo Corporation starts construction third industrial park in Vietnam with Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister calling for best possible conditions for investors. With central government support, Hanwha Techwin to open first of three Vietnamese aircraft engine parts factories early next year.
September 19th, 2017
China’s potentially massive electric car market and regulatory pressure charge up foreign auto firms’ willingness to share technology and invest in the sector. China plans to blacklist and potentially punish blacklisted Chinese outward investors that become “discreditable.” National security concerns lead American President Donald Trump to crunch Lattice chip’s sale to Chinese buyer. The European Commission has come up with a pan-European measure to vet Chinese investments in the European Union (EU). Thailand’s military junta assures Japanese investors proposed plan for USD $45 billion injection into Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor will go ahead regardless of the results of the next election. Suzuki Motor partnering with Toshiba and Denso to invest in electric vehicle facilities in India in line with the latter’s “Make in India” initiative and increasing demand for green mobility. Hyundai releases plans for electric vehicle manufacturing plant in India after Indian government pledges to ban sales of non-EV cars by 2030. South Korean retail giant Lotte Group has begun making plans to sell its China shops due to politically-related pressures in China. Asian Development Bank to support Indonesia’s energy sector. China’s expanded investment in Thailand raises local anxieties. The divestment of numerous Vietnamese SOEs has problematic features that discourage foreign investment. Southern Vietnamese province promoting investment in several industrial sectors through policy reforms and other initiatives.
September 13th, 2017
The China Insurance Regulatory Commission states China is moving to increase foreign involvement in the insurance sector. In conjunction with the latest BRICs meeting, State Grid of China touts its contribution to and presence in Brazil. Kawasaki Heavy Industries competing for USD $3.2 billion contract to build subway cars from New York’s state-run Metropolitan Transpiration Authority. Foxconn joins bidding process for Japanese chipmaker Toshiba’s USD $19.5 billion NAND memory technology. North Korea’s missile launch explodes USD $1.5 billion South Korea’s shipbuilding industry deal with foreign firm. Beijing Hyundai resumes operation at stalled Changzhou (China) facility, but the firm still faces many other challenges. Freeport McMoran to retain control over operations of Grasberg mine, with USD $750 million investment to be made next year. Indonesia urges APEC to boost cross-border investment by supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises. Thailand's small and medium-sized enterprises urged to invest in Mandalay, Myanmar because of favorable economic and political environments. Tien Phong Industrial Zone JSC and Russia’s Seaport of Azov sign memorandum of understanding to jointly build Vietnam-Russia Industrial Complex. South Korean investment in Vietnam continues to soar as tariffs reductions from the ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement slowly come into effect.
September 6th, 2017
China announces it is working on a document to enhance the protection of foreign intellectual property rights (IPR). Likely due to Brexit, Chinese delegations flock to Ireland to explore investment opportunities. Indian government asks Chinese smartphone makers to provide info that allows for investigation of security of Indian user data. United States government probing potential bribes paid by Sinopec’s Swiss unit Addax Petroleum to Nigerian government officials. British luxury carmaker Aston Martin announces Japanese investment deal worth nearly USD $600 million as Brexit looms closer. Nissan and Renault teaming up with Dongfeng to design and introduce new electric vehicles to the Chinese market, following China’s new strict emissions rules. Disrupted parts supply due to sluggish cash flow resulting from backlash against Hyundai for Korea’s deployment of THAAD system halts Hyundai’s China production. Samsung Electronics in talks with China for a USD $7 billion expansion of its Xi’an chip plant. Indonesia to finalize numerous deregulation measures aimed at creating more competitive investment environment. Freeport-McMoRan Inc. reduces its ownership stake in Indonesian Grasberg copper and gold mine to resolve long-running dispute with Indonesia’s central government. Mobike, Ofo, and oBike are striving to win the Thai market and working with the government to build a favorable operating environment. Nazir Razak says foreign investors like Malaysia’s robust economy, but are holding off because of uncertainties linked to upcoming election. Vietnam’s leaders recently concluded state visits to Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand resulting in USD $13.45 billion of newly registered investment capital. Hanoi General Export Import JSC and Hong Kong United Investors Holding join together on bid for infrastructure project contracts from the Vietnamese government.
August 30th, 2017
China’s State Council issues comprehensive guidelines in an effort to provide a more welcoming environment for inward foreign direct investment (FDI). Foreign firms increasingly fret about pressures to give more power to Chinese Communist Party organizations in their joint ventures. China’s Ministry of Commerce moves to restrain the sectoral and geographic destination of Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) while leaving the space for high-tech and Belt and Road Initiative OFDI. Chinese real estate firms will continue to have strong reasons for OFDI even though they have severely cut OFDI in 2017 due to government controls. Talks between Toshiba Corp. and government led consortium of American, South Korean, and Japanese investment entities break down. Russian moves to encourage investment on disputed Kuril Islands angers Japan. China sales by South Korea’s Hyundai and Kia down for the sixth month straight due to politics, market challenges and branding issues. China’s feud with South Korea over THAAD missile installation harming its own workers and firms. LG Electronics Inc. begins construction of USD $250 million home appliance manufacturing plant in the US following Trump administration’s move to foster a positive investment climate. Under siege at home, China’s Anbang Insurance Group struggling in South Korea and drawing more regulatory attention there. Indonesia’s PT Intra Asia signs memorandum of understanding with Vietnam’s state-owned Coal and Resources department for USD $1 billion coal port. Trade delegation from the UK reaches out to Indonesian government in preparation for post-Brexit trade and investment agreements. Malaysia experiencing strong economic growth due to infrastructure projects the government is implementing across the country. PetroVietnam signs Memorandum of Understanding with Thailand’s Siam Cement Group’s chemical subsidiary to jointly build USD $5.4 billion petrochemical complex. Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment elaborates upon features of the country’s three new specialized special economic zones
August 23rd, 2017
China takes steps/promises measures to draw in more foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s State Council details a slew of initiatives to increase greater inward FDI (IFDI) as well as to foster specific types of IFDI. Donald Trump signs executive order authorizing US Trade Representative to decide whether or not to investigate China’s theft of American intellectual property. China’s Ministry of Commerce reports small drop in IFDI over the first seven months of 2017 year over year (YOY) while outward FDI drops dramatically over the first seven months of 2017 YOY. The Philippines is looking to Japan and China to finance investments in energy and power generation projects worth over USD $135 billion. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. to expand operations in Saudi Arabia to support Saudi initiatives to reduce reliance on oil. Kumho Tire Co. to be bought out by its Chinese competitor Qingdao Doublestar Co. for USD $857 million after South Korean state-owned development bank sells its stake to Doublestar. Hyundai to promote Indonesia as Southeast Asian production base because of, among other things, the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement will remove car import duties in 2018. Indonesia and Vietnam to boost investment activity following 7th Indonesia-Vietnam Joint Commission on Economic, Science, and Technical Cooperation. Facebook opens full office in Indonesia due to tightening regulations on foreign Internet firms. Recent report touts that Malaysia’s strategic location and competitive position make it attractive for foreign investment. US deepening investigation into money stolen from Malaysian state investment fund allegedly used to obtain around USD $1.7 billion in real estate, jewelry and art.
August 22nd, 2017
Beijing’s actions to curb overseas foreign direct investment (FDI) by private firms coupled with other factors generate uncertainty among potential Western investment targets. American credit/debit card companies Visa and MasterCard move to gain access to China market, but licensing uncertainties remain. Nissan to sell battery subsidiary to Chinese private equity firm, following recent Chinese government policy changes on purchase of batteries for electric vehicles. Facing pressure to invest in US, Toyota and Mazda plan USD $1.6 billion partnership to establish US based electric vehicle production plant. SK Engineering & Construction Co. announces deal to upgrade Iranian oil plant, reflecting Teheran’s bid to bring in foreign companies to boost its oil industry. Daewoo Engineering & Construction and Samsung Engineering win mega construction projects in Oman. Vale Indonesia experiencing difficulties finding nickel smelter partners for new investments after rule change. Indonesian President courting China for investment but concurrently preparing the military for potential confrontation. EXIM Thailand plans to open new branches in Cambodia and Laos to support outward FDI by Thai firms. China and Malaysia launch USD $13 billion rail project connecting peninsular Malaysia's East and West. Mitsubishi’s CEO tells Vietnamese Prime Minster it plans to produce electric vehicles in Vietnam. Long Son Petrochemical Co Ltd announces Hyundai Engineering and Construction won building contract for petrochemical plant in Vietnam.
August 8th, 2017
Donald Trump administration contemplates using Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act to challenge China’s technology transfer and intellectual property right protection practices. Foreign businesses increasingly fret about the burdens to be flowing from China’s rejection of non-approved virtual private networks (VPNs) and other data controls/restrictions. China’s Ministry of Finance issues a guideline to limit risk of overseas investments by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Foxconn Technology Group announces major planned investment in the United States (US) to do R&D work relating to self-driving vehicles perhaps due to Trump’s efforts to bring more manufacturing to the US. Workers at Nissan’s Mississippi factory vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. Japan’s JFE Holdings Inc. considers further investment into India’s JSW Steel Ltd as a way to profit from increased steel demand potentially flowing from Indian Prime Minister Modi’s economic plans. South Korean firms struggle in the Middle East due to government indifference and rising political tensions. South Korea’s LA Cable & System signs USD $195 million contract with Qatar’s state owned utilities firm. Jakarta focuses on simplifying investment application process for foreign firms seeking investment licenses. Indonesia’s government will start taking bids in September for construction of six massive geothermal power plants. Thailand and Australia discuss revising the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement to increase investment and trade. Indian Oil Corp Ltd in talks with partners to search for cheaper location for Pacific Northwest LNG terminal after recent withdrawal of Petronas. South Korea’s Lotte signs Eco-Smart city development contract with Vietnam’s People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam’s Prime Minister confirms that creation of Vietnam’s first three special economic zones would enjoy special rules to attract greater investment.
August 2nd, 2017
The China Banking Regulatory Commission moves to allow foreign banks to purchase Chinese lenders through a locally incorporated subsidiary. Analysis claims China is cracking down on acquisitive private actors, so-called “Grey Rhinos,” because of risks they pose to the Chinese economy. The United Kingdom is moving to tighten its foreign investment regime partly to deal with investors like China which have been investing in sensitive areas. Toyota to produce electric vehicles in Thailand to take advantage of various economic incentives. Consortium led by government sponsored Innovation Network Corp. of Japan announces final bid for Toshiba's flash memory division. South Korea following up on USD $10 billion infrastructure development deal with India. Recent data reveals Korean companies increased spending on US lobbying after inauguration of US President Donald Trump. Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board says Singapore remains largest investor in Indonesia, with Chinese investment increasing in both quantity and quality. Thailand’s Board of Investment confident overall applications for investment privileges will reach target of USD $18 billion in 2017. Malaysia’s Second Finance Minister states country has some well-run government-linked companies and rebuts concerns about Chinese investment. Two Japanese and seven Chinese state-owned enterprises bid for Bandar Malaysia project. Vietnam Steel Association proposes limiting foreign investment to certain kinds of steel projects.
July 27th, 2017
In rare praise for foreign firms, Chinese President Xi Jinping lauds their contribution to China and says the Chinese government must do more to attract and retain them. The China Banking Regulatory Commission imposes strict limits on Chinese banks providing support for overseas deals by Dalian Wanda. Some feel the United States (US) Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States is becoming stricter which, in turn, may hinder Chinese investment flows in the US. Toyota continues USD $310 million UK plant expansion after receiving Brexit reassurances from British government. Japanese financial institutions move to set up subsidiary businesses in the EU as Brexit jeopardizes their financial services licenses. Hyundai to open fifth Chinese assembly plant as compact vehicle sales are expected to rise before Chinese government’s increase in purchase taxes next year. South Korea’s Nexen Tire Corp. signs memorandum of understanding with United Arab Emirates’ state-owned Mubadala Development Co. Indonesian branch of ExxonMobil drops talks on East Natuna natural gas block, with Jakarta saying it intends to invite firm to discuss project again. Economist says Malaysia to become key economic corridor because of strong economic fundamentals, strategic geographical location and Prime Minister’s diplomatic efforts. China’s restrictions on bank loans to Dalian Wanda Group diminish prospects of Bandar Malaysia project. Vietnam’s Prime Minister signs decision to boost his country’s solar power development which is spurring much foreign investor interest. At HCM City conference, Laotian provinces court investment from Vietnam.