MNCs in the News-2018-07-27

China

United States (US) airlines like American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United, and Hawaii finally agreed to change the way they refer to Taiwan on their websites as a result of demands by the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The decision came following a letter from the Civil Aviation Administration of China in April that they should not treat Taiwan on par with China but should call it China Taiwan or China Taiwan region and also ensure their maps colored Taiwan the same color as the PRC (“U.S. Airlines to Accept Chinese Demand on Naming Taiwan,” Bloomberg, July 24, 2018, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-07-24/u-s-airlines-are-said...)

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has begun to draft rules that would require “broader national security reviews” for foreign investors wanting to acquire “‘strategic’ stakes in listed Chinese companies.’” The rules which would “expand the universe of foreign investments covered by China’s formal review process” come in the wake of Australia, the United Kingdom (UK), and US tightening their review systems. Some see MOFCOM’s move as a sign of China wanting to expand the economic weapons it can wield in the evolving trade war with US (Gabriel Wildau, “China Plans Tighter Controls on Foreign Acquisitions,” Financial Times, July 30, 2018)

A leading law firm reports, using Thomas Reuters data, that Chinese outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to the US has dramatically plummeted while growing overall. While Chinese M&A in the US has dropped dramatically, Chinese European M&A has grown. Apparently, the decline had to do with growing trade frictions between the US and China, stricter Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) reviews, as well as constraints that the Chinese government placed on outward foreign direct investment (FDI) (Louise Moon, “Trade War Shrinks Chinese Companies’ First-Half Mergers and Acquisitions in America,” South China Morning Post, July 22, 2018, https://www.scmp.com/print/business/companies/article/2156157/trade-war-...)

Chinese investors who only a few short years before had been gobbling up European soccer clubs (they spent USD $2.5 billion from 2014 to 2017) have been selling them due to Beijing’s crackdown on “irrational” investment in this and other sectors. Since the introduction of restrictions last year, Chinese investors have “sold all or some of their stake” and more is expected. The aforementioned surge took place soon after Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed interest in making China a football powerhouse (Ben Bland and Murad Ahmed, “Chinese Investors Take Route One out of European Football,” Financial Times, July 30, 2018)

Japan

Russia’s state-owned oil giant Rosneft has filed a lawsuit demanding $1.4 billion for alleged “unfounded” gains against various stakeholders in the Sakhalin-1 offshore oil and gas project. These stakeholders include Japanese trading firms Marubeni Corp., Itochu Corp., and the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The lawsuit led by Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin, a close aide of Russian President Vladimir Putin, comes amidst Japanese and Russian efforts to deepen economic cooperation in other areas like resource development (“Russia’s Rosneft files $1.4 billion suit against stakeholders including Japan firms, over Sakhalin oil project,” The Japan Times, July 24, 2018, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/07/24/business/russias-rosneft-fi...)

Just days after Japan passed a controversial law that will allow the development of three new casino resorts in the country, Malaysia’s Genting Group’s Singaporean subsidiary incorporated five new subsidiaries in Japan. Genting’s new subsidiaries will be involved in developing and managing integrated resort and leisure destinations while targeting the new Japanese market that is expected to generate billions of dollars in annual revenue. However, according to the timeline set by Japanese authorities, the sites for casino development probably will not be selected until 2021 (Kevin Lim, “Genting Singapore forms give Japan subsidiaries,” Nikkei Asian Review, July 25, 2018, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Nikkei-Markets/Genting-Singapor...)

South Korea

After the recent collapse of the hydroelectric power damn in Southern Laos that flooded surrounding villages and killed more than 20 while displacing thousands, the Lao government will investigate possible construction flaws in the damn which was being built by a joint venture that included South Korean, Thai, and Lao companies. South Korea’s SK Engineering is the main builder of the $1 billion project with a 26 percent stake, followed by Korean Western Power with a 25 percent stake (Yukako Ono and Kim Jaewon, “Laos to investigate possible construction flaws after damn collapse,” Nikkei Asian Review, July 25, 2018, https://asia.nikkei.com/Location/Southeast-Asia/Myanmar-Cambodia-Laos/La...)

Due to a saturated domestic market, Korea’s Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) is helping its financial firms expand into overseas markets by clearing regulatory issues and providing consulting services. The FSS also is attempting to strengthen ties with its counterparts abroad to help Korean banks secure regulatory approval more easily. Korean financial firms are currently accelerating their business expansion into Southeast Asian markets like Vietnam and Indonesia where growth potential is high with increasing population and is a good alternative to China as Chinese-Korean relations have soured (Jhoo Dong-chan, “Korea spurs banks’ overseas expansion,” The Korea Times, July 25, 2018, http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/biz/2018/07/367_252741.html)

*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.