MNCs in the News-2020-04-10

China

United States (US) financial giant JPMorgan recently came to terms with its Chinese joint venture (JV) partner that will allow it to own 100 percent of its Shanghai JV called China International Fund Management Co., provided it eventually obtains regulatory approval from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC). JPMorgan’s maneuver occurs at a time when China is opening its financial sector and after the CSRC accepted applications from BlackRock and Neuberger Berman to establish wholly foreign owned mutual fund ventures in China (“JPMorgan Reaches Agreement to Increase Stake in China Mutual Fund Venture to 100%,” Reuters, April 3, 2020, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-jp-morgan-funds-china/jpmorgan-reache...)

Reacting to prospective changes to the US export regime that would affect semiconductor, chip equipment, and related sales to China, the US Semiconductor Industry Association, a leading trade association, and other industry bodies warned about the adverse effect of the potential rules and called for more public comment opportunities. These groups cautioned that contemplated changes would damage exports, hurt R&D, lead to “the design-out of US technology and components,” and highlighted the importance of chips for health care equipment (“US chipmaking industry pushes back on proposed changes affecting semiconductor exports to China,” South China Morning Post, April 7, 2020, https://www.scmp.com/print/tech/gear/article/3078711/us-chipmaking-indus...)

In 2017, Canyon Bridge, a venture firm supported by Chinese funds, tool control of Imagination Technologies, a United Kingdom (UK) company which designs graphic chips. Recently, there was an effort to appoint four board members with ties to China Reform Holdings, a Chinese government venture fund, to the Board. The UK government blocked this and the current Chairman and CEO, the latter having resigned, will retain their positions. The US previously blocked an effort by Canyon Bridge to invest in a US semiconductor company (Nic Fildes, “Chinese Move to Take Control of Imagination Technologies Stalls,” Financial Times, April 8, 2020)

In response to reports that the US said China was giving masks to France on the condition that Huawei could participate in France’s 5G network, a China Foreign Ministry spokesperson stated, “‘I don’t know what evidence this US representative has…His words again show that some politicians in the US can go as far as fabricating and spreading lies to jeopardize international cooperation.’” He opined China was helping France because of their mutual ties, friendship, and humanitarian spirit” (“China’s Medical Supplies to France Not on Condition of 5G Deployment: FM,” Global Times, April 7, 2020, https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1184889.shtml)

Japan

The Japanese government has prepared a supplemental budget of ¥243.5 billion to support Japanese manufacturers moving production out of China. ¥220 billion of this amount would be for companies returning to Japan and ¥23.5 billion for those shifting production to Southeast Asia. China is Japan’s biggest trade partner, but the shutdown of Chinese factories due to the coronavirus disrupted supply chains, leaving Japanese manufacturers short of needed parts. The bad experience renewed debates about the value of diversifying supply chains (“Japan sets aside ¥243.5 billion to help firms shift production out of China,” The Japan Times, April 9, 2020, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/04/09/business/japan-sets-aside-¥243-5-billion-help-firms-shift-production-china)

Due to Indonesia’s decision to order a partial lockdown in Jakarta to stem the coronavirus, several Japanese automakers will temporarily close their factories. Toyota will shut operations until April 17 and Honda Motor until April 24, while Daihatsu Motor will suspend production for eight days. Regarding the lockdown, for two weeks starting from April 10, Jakarta will tighten mobility restrictions, which ban the gathering of more than five people and require public transport services to shorten operating hours and limit passenger capacity (Koya Jibiki, “Toyota to halt Indonesia production as Jakarta locks down,” Nikkei Asian Review, April 10, 2020, https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Automobiles/Toyota-to-halt-Indonesia-pr...)

South Korea

The Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) announced that it would conduct a comprehensive review of German online food delivery service Delivery Hero’s acquisition of Woowa Brothers, the operator of Korean food delivery app Baemin. KFTC would investigate not only the impact of the acquisition on competition, but also its potential adverse consequences for consumers. Specifically, KFTC will look at the possibility of Woowa obtaining a monopoly of customers’ data and imposing fees that are unfavorable to restaurants. A prolonged review could postpone the merger indefinitely (Kim Jae-heun, “Delivery Hero-Woowa deal may be postponed,” The Korea Times, April 8, 2020, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2020/04/694_287565.html)

Indian automobile manufacturer Mahindra & Mahindra recently decided not to inject fresh funding into struggling Korean carmaker SsangYong Motor. SsangYong needs 500 billion won for continung operations, of which Mahindra intended to provide 230 billion won while requesting at least 170 billion won in aid from the Korean Development Bank (KDB). Observers believe Mahindra is trying to put pressure on the South Korean government to choose between a bailout or the collapse of SsangYong given that KDB has shown little enthusiasm for Mahindra’s request (Nam Hyun-woo, “Mahindra hurls SsangYong ultimatum at Moon gov't,” The Korea Times, April 5, 2020, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2020/04/419_287375.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.