MNCs in the News-2017-07-14

China

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reported China’s IFDI in June hit USD $14.82 billion, a 2.3 percent increase YOY. In June, almost 2,900 new foreign funded companies came into being. IFDI for the first half of 2017 witnessed a slight 0.1 percent decline over the prior period YOY, though the number of new foreign invested firms rose more than 12 percent. For the first half of 2017, manufacturing IFDI was up 3 percent YOY. There were noteworthy gains in IFDI in high-tech manufacturing and high-tech services (“FDI into Chinese Mainland Edges Up in June,” China Daily, July 13, 2017, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-07/13/content_30099832.htm)

In its China Business Report, the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai reported that almost twenty percent of American firms in China planned to redirect investment to other locales like Southeast Asia, the United States (US), and India because of rising costs, intense domestic competition, and other factors such as American businesses concerns about the fairness of the playing field and internet censorship. China status as a global investment priority also appears to be falling (Daniel Ren, “One Fifth of US Firms in Shanghai Redirecting Investments Away from China, Says AmCham Survey,” South China Morning Post, July 13, 2017, http://www.scmp.com/business/global-economy/article/2102403/one-fifth-us...)

According to China’s MOFCOM, non-financial OFDI in June fell 11.3 percent YOY while OFDI for the first six months of 2017 fell almost 46 percent YOY to USD $48.19 billion. The drop in OFDI has been especially pronounced in areas like cinemas, entertainment, hotels, and property. The drop has to do with restrictions on outward capital flows, tighter loan supervision, and, according to a MOFCOM spokesman, China’s better investment situation, and problems in host country destinations (Yifan Yu, “China’s Outward Investment Slumps 46pc in First Half Amid Tighter Regulations and Global Uncertainty,” South China Morning Post, July 14, 2017, http://www.scmp.com/business/global-economy/article/2102700/chinas-outbo...)

In a letter, eleven members of Congress urged the US Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) to block a consortium, which includes Chongqing Casin Enterprise Group (CCEG) and others including some American investors, from acquiring the Chicago Stock Exchange (CHX), a minor player in stock transactions. The letter stated that the SEC lacked the ability to monitor CCEG, “‘leaving CHX open to undue, improper, and possibly state-driven influence.’” The deal already has been approved by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (John McCrank, “Lawmakers Urge SEC to Stop Chicago Stock Exchange’s China Deal,” Reuters, July 10, 2017, http://www.reuters.com/article/us-chicagostockexchange-m-a-chongqing-re-...)

At the recent “Chinese Firms Going Global Abroad 50 Forum,” a China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Director observed China’s OFDI was expected to jump from USD $183.2 to $750 billion within five years. He noted the NDRC “‘will continue to encourage Chinese companies to go overseas and negotiate and cooperate with participating countries along the B&R to bring down the costs of cooperation.’” The Export-Import Bank of China said it had lent almost 670 billion yuan to support 1,279 Belt and Road projects (“China to Pour Trillions into Belt and Road Projects,” China Daily, July 14, 2017, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2017-07/14/content_30114139.htm)

Japan

Japan’s Toshiba corporation is still negotiating with bidders for its billion-dollar flash memory business because a potential deal has stalled due to South Korea SK Hynix’s preference for a deal structure that has the potential to give the Korean firm an eventual equity or management influence in the chip business. Toshiba is adhering to Japanese government demands to keep chip technology under domestic ownership. Toshiba also attended an injunction hearing filed by the US Western Digital, leading it to reopen negotiations with interested parties (Taro Fuse, “Toshiba talks to suitors in new sale bid,” Business Live, July 12, 2017, https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/companies/2017-07-12-toshiba-talks-to-...)

The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Indian provincial governments are increasing investment cooperation for special industrial zones to meet Japanese firms’ expansion needs. These special zones facilitate Japanese firms’ ability to navigate India’s difficult bureaucracy and streamline business operations. As a result, Japanese firms such as Daikin are expanding production to take advantage of India’s cheap labor, growing middle class, and rapid growth, as well as using India as a base to send products into Southeast Asia and Africa (Iain Marlow, “Japan Inc an Island of calm in India’s chaotic business terrain,” The Economic Times, July 11, 2017, http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/japan-...)

South Korea

While political tension between China and South Korea has caused many South Korean firms to reduce operations in China, SK Group is moving to boost relations with Chinese officials. SK Group’s chairman Chey Tai-won recently met with provincial leaders from Tianjin to set the stage for the company’s investment into artificial intelligence, semiconductors, and energy production. Building upon Chey’s ties other Chinese officials and SK Group’s previous joint-venture with China’s Sinopec, SK Group hopes to bolster operations in China and take advantage of market opportunities (Jung Min-hee, “SK Group Seeks for Business Opportunities in China,” BusinessKorea, July 10, 2017, http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/english/news/management/18589-different-s...)

Thailand

China is “considering an investment” to connect Thailand’s Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) with Kunming’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to construct a “consolidated supply chain.” Next month, representatives of both parties will convene to discuss details. The Kunming SEZ is China’s biggest and newest investment and seeks to boost the development of targeted EEC industries, while the EEC, which entails massive investments in infrastructure like ports, airports, and high-speed trains, reflects Thailand’s ambition to enter the 4.0 era and link the EEC to other parts of Thailand and the world (“Chinese interested in EEC link," Bangkok Post, July 12, 2017, http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/news/1285375/chinese-interested-in-e...)

Malaysia

Per Singaporean prosecutors, Malaysian financier Low Taek Jho is the “central figure” in probes related to 1Malaysian Development Bhd. (1MDB), a state fund that was established for joint development projects, but that Low misappropriated. Around USD $1 billion that 1MDB was supposed to invest in a joint venture with PetroSaudi International Ltd. was diverted to a bank account “beneficially owned by Low.” A global effort is under way to investigate various banks and individuals’ roles in this scandal and recover funds (Andrea Tan and Chanyaporn Chanjaroen, “Malaysia’s 1MDB a ‘Victim’ of Jho Low, Prosecutors Say,” Bloomberg, July 12, 2017, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-12/singapore-banker-admi...)

Vietnam

The Vietnamese government has been gradually opening its transportation and logistics sector, providing opportunities for foreign transnational companies in these industries. The government’s efforts to ease the procedures for foreign business involvement led to increasing market shares for foreign companies. According to the Oxford Business Group, a gradual streamlining in processing times for both imports and outbound logistics and increased efficiency might increase Vietnam’s economic competitiveness and encourage more foreign investment. To facilitate this, earlier this year the General Department of Customs announced “improvements to its business environment.” (“Vietnam Logistics Industry Draws Global Attention,” Vietnam Net, July 12, 2017, http://english.vietnamnet.vn/fms/business/181908/vietnam-logistics-indus...)

*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.