MNCs in the News-2014-02-21

More than two and a half dozen large Chinese timber companies operate in Gabon, a major African timber producer that derives more than 10 percent of its exports from timber. Chinese firms in Gabon must meet a diverse set of environmental laws governing how and where they can fell trees and now must deal with government regulations, geared towards boosting local employment, that forbid the export of logs and only allow processed wood product exports. The regulations drove some companies out, but led others to change their operating strategies to conform to the new environment (Wang Chao and Andrew Moody, “Chinese Firm Branches Out,” China Daily, Feb. 10, 2014,

As part of its national strategy to become a zero-emission country and interest in exploiting its abundant hydropower resources, Bhutan aims to increase the use of Electric Vehicles (EVs). Nissan is planning to profit from this by offering its Leaf EV as a government vehicle, taxi, and experimental car. Through this endeavor, Nissan also seeks to accumulate knowledge about the promotion of EVs in a developing country that it can apply to other developing countries (“Nissan to cooperate Bhutan’s EV national strategy, considering to offer ‘Leaf,’” Bloomberg, Feb. 21, 2014,; “Nissan sells Leaf in Bhutan, supporting its EV mission,” Nikkei, Feb. 21, 2014,; and “Nissan supports Bhutan for spreading EV, offers ‘Leaf”,” Jiji Press, Feb. 21, 2014,

South Korean regulators are preparing a panoply of measures to protect personal information collected by financial firms. This follows the massive theft of customer information, involving 40% of Korean citizens, from three credit card companies (KB Kookmin Bank, Lotte, and NH Nonghyup) by a computer contractor working for a personal credit rating firm who then sold the pilfered information to marketing companies. After this incident, the government banned all telemarketing activities, but it later retracted its ban due to intense protests by foreign insurance companies (“South Korea credit card firms punished over data theft,” BBC, Feb. 17, 2014; and “S. Korea to unveil measures for personal data protection this month,” Global Post, Feb. 19, 2014,

Confronted repeatedly by record-level toxic pollution emanating from burning undertaken to clear Indonesian forests for palm plantations or palm oil production and inadequate action by Jakarta, Singapore is considering a novel law that would allow it to impose major civil fines on Singaporean, Singaporean-linked, or foreign companies that were determined to be “causing or contributing to transboundary haze pollution.” The bill would not only empower government action, but also would allow individuals to sue for personal injury and property damage (Jeremy Grant and Ben Bland, “Singapore Widens Battle against Toxic Haze from Forest Fires,” Financial Times, Feb.19, 2014)

*The information compiled in the MNCs in the News digest is gathered from sources believed to be reliable, but the Wong MNC Center does not guarantee their accuracy. The content of the MNCs in the News digest does not necessarily represent the view of the Wong MNC Center, its Board of Directors, or its Advisory Board, but is intended for the non-commercial use of readers in order to foster debate and discussion and to facilitate and stimulate research.