MNCs in the News-2019-10-18

China

At a State Council meeting, China said it would “introduce more measures and foster a more enabling business environment to encourage” foreign direct investment (FDI). China will target the elimination of restrictive policies “outside the national and pilot free trade zones negative lists.” The government also intends to allow foreign companies more overseas borrowing options, simplify site selection and land use reviews, and ease obtaining construction permits. It was stressed inter alia that forced transfer of technology was not allowed and trade secrets will be protected, (“China to Attract Foreign Investment with Better Business Environment,” Xinhuanet, October 17, 2019, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-10/17/c_138479088.htm)

China’s State Council has announced various regulatory changes that will widen the opening of China’s financial sector by removing or reducing limitations on the establishment and activities of foreign banks and insurance firms. For example, foreign insurers will no longer be required to have 30 years of overseas experience and a representative office in China two years. China will permit banks to set up simultaneously wholly foreign-owned enterprises and branches in China. China expects its policy changes will improve competitiveness and bring knowledge (Jiang Xueqing and Zhou Lanxu, “Foreign Banks, Insurers Given Broader Access,” China Daily, October 16, 2019, http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/16/WS5da60bb4a310cf3e35570a66.html)

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), China’s non-financial outward FDI grew 3.8 percent for the 1st three quarters of 2019 year-over-year (YOY). This was faster than the YOY growth rate for the 1st 8 months of the year. The amount flowing into 164 countries and regions was USD $78.5 billion, with FDI flowing into Belt and Road cooperating parties running $10.04 billion. There were “no new projects in the real estate, sports, and entertainment sectors,” with investment pouring into “business services, manufacturing, wholesale and retail” (“China’s Outbound Investment up 3.8% in Jan-Sept. Period,” China Daily, October 16, 2019, https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201910/16/WS5da6e069a310cf3e35570e07.html)

A senior official with Cambodia’s Council for the Development of Cambodia stated China was his country’s largest investor for the period 2016 to August 2019, investing $7.9 billion and representing 35 percent of all FDI. Chinese FDI went into hydropower, industrial zones, real estate, textiles, and transport infrastructure. He touted the contribution of Chinese infrastructure to the Cambodian economy and lauded the BRI’s role in boosting inward FDI (IFDI). Japan and Vietnam were the 2nd and 3rd most important investors over the aforementioned period (“Cambodia Attracts 7.9 bln USD Investment from China in Nearly 4 Years: Senior Official,” Xinhuanet.com, http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-10/11/c_138462725.htm)

Japan

According to reports, Japan might exempt asset management companies, including hedge funds, from its new IFDI rules. The Japanese government proposed the new regulations in early October to protect national security in sensitive industries like nuclear power and semiconductor production. Tokyo plans to tighten the screening requirement for foreign investors when they buy stakes of 1 percent or more in Japanese companies in strategic sectors. However, concerns have emerged because the new regulations are deemed too vague and might hinder FDI flowing in Japan (“Japan to exempt asset managers from stricter investment rules,” Nikkei Asian Review, October 17, 2019, https://asia.nikkei.com/Economy/Japan-to-exempt-asset-managers-from-stri...)

Nissan Motors might suffer an asset write-down of over 80 billion yen ($737 million) if the United Kingdom (UK) withdraws from the European Union (EU) without a deal on October 31st. UK-made Nissan products could face a 10 percent tariff, raising unit production costs by $2,700. An increase in cost would further complicate Nissan's efforts to turn around its money-losing European business. Nissan currently faces a financially difficult position and the company will have to shut down or cut production lines (Tatsuya Okada, “Nissan at risk of $740m body blow from no-deal Brexit,” Nikkei Asian Review, October 17, 2019, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Automobile/Nissan-at-risk-of-740m-body-...)

South Korea

Production losses at GM Korea Co. caused South Korea’s vehicle exports to fall 4.8 percent in September compared to last year, according to Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy. GM Korea’s production fell by 15,000 units due to its union’s strike for demand higher wages, though sluggish demand also fueled GM’s problems. While GM stumbled, seven other automakers including Hyundai Motor Co., Kia Motors Corp., and Renault Samsung Motors Corp. actually saw an increase of 4 percent in their vehicle exports to $3.08 billion this month (“S. Korea’s vehicle exports fall 4.8.pct in September,” Yonhap, October 17, 2019, https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20191017005600320)

Doosan Group’s move to transfer its data storage and protection system to Amazon Web Services (AWS) has sparked concerns from local cloud service providers that it will hamper the development of the local industry. The South Korean computing market was worth 2.3 trillion won in 2019 and is expected to grow because South Korean firms seek to cut costs and improve productivity. However, the market is dominated by foreign providers, who accounted for an 80 percent market share while local providers play a minor role (Baek Byung-yeul, “Doosan-AWS partnership undermines local cloud industry,” The Korea Times, October 17, 2019, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2019/10/133_277307.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.