MNCs in the News-2021-September

China

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said that “China will consider formulating a negative list for cross-border services trade in the country's free trade zones (FTZs) to further promote the liberalization of trade in services.” To build top notch FTZs, a MOFCOM spokesperson stated that “more management powers will be delegated from provincial government departments to the FTZs. China had previously stated at the 2021 China International Trade Fair for Trade in Services that it would push a negative list for cross-border trade in services (“China Mulls Negative list for Cross-Border Services Trade in FTZs,” China Daily, September 29, 2021, https://global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202109/29/WS61540d15a310cdd39bc6c60c....)

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology recently published draft regulations relating to the classification of data, grouping them into three categories (general, vital, and core) and banning exports of “core data.” The new regulations cover “data generated from industrial and information technology sectors in China, including raw materials, equipment manufacturing consumer products, electronics manufacturing, explosives for civil uses and software.” The classifications have ramifications for data storage requirements and the necessity of seeking approvals for the export of data (Chu Daye, “China to Ban Core Industrial and Information Data from Leaving the Country,” Global Times, September 30, 2021, https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1235543.shtml)

An American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai survey of business sentiment found that a large percentage of surveyed companies were doing well financially and optimistic about their future prospects in China despite Covid-19, United States (US)-China tensions, and China’s border restrictions. Regarding their optimism, 70 percent of those surveyed expect revenue growth over the next 3-5 years exceeding their worldwide revenue growth. Reflective of these stats, 72 percent of respondents said they had no intention of leaving China (“US Companies Upbeat about Future in China as They Shake Off Covid-19 Effects, Tension: AmCham Survey,” The Street.com, September 23, 2021, https://www.thestreet.com/partner/us-companies-upbeat-about-future-in-ch...)

During a meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a high level official of China’s National Development and Reform Commission said “high-quality operation under high-level security guarantees are needed to turn the corridor into a demonstration project for the high-quality development of the” Belt and Road (BRI). This official added CPEC, a BRI landmark project, should feature construction at the “center of the relationship” with both sides focusing on “Gwadar Port, energy, infrastructure construction, and other industry cooperation” (Yin Yeping, “Chinese Official Calls for ‘High-Level’ Security Reassurance for CPEC,” Global Times, September 23, 2021, https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1234965.shtml)

Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into India generally and the tech sector more specifically have declined because of political tensions following a border clash in 2020 as well as, relatedly, Indian government sanctions targeting over 200 Chinese apps from Chinese firms like Baidu, Tencent, and Bytedance. Still, Chinese private equity, venture capital, and other entities are pouring billions into Indian tech firms. Moreover, “banned Chinese apps are now returning to the Indian digital ecosystem under various corporate structures with layered ownership (“Chinese Capital’s Return to India ‘Partial’ as Genera Investment Slides: Insider,” Global Times, September 8, 2021, https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202109/1233705.shtml)

COSCO Shipping Ports, a business unit of China COSCO Shipping Corp., will acquire a “35 percent stake in Hamburger Hafen's HHLA Container Terminal Tollerort (CTT)” at the Port of Hamburg. The expectation is that this will improve flows through the port as well as expand trade between China and Germany. CTT is one of three container terminals of Hamburger Hafen and has four berths and 14 container gantry cranes. One notable feature about Hamburg is that it represents a key China-Europe Railway Express train node (Zhong Nan, “Port Deal Set to Expand China-Germany Trade,” China Daily, September 23, 2021, global.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202109/23/WS614bd5e0a310cdd39bc6adfd.html)

Japan

Settling an investigation by the Japan Fair Trade Commission, Apple “will allow developers of some apps to link from its App Store to external websites for payments by users.” Still, it will not modify its policy for game apps or in-app purchases, which represent a large percentage of the money it makes from its App Store, though this may change over time given increasing regulatory scrutiny. Korea, India, and others are acting in various ways against Apple’s payment policies (Mark Gurman and Vlad Savov, “Apple to Let Media Apps avoid 30% Fee after Global Scrutiny,” Bloomberg, September 2, 2021, https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-09-02/apple-to-let-app-make...)

Japan has protested to South Korea “over a court order that forces Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) to sell assets in the country to provide compensation for wartime forced labor.” This is the first time a Korean court has ordered the sale of a Japanese company’s assets (the sale of MHI’s Korea trademark and patents rights) to provide the compensation required by an earlier lawsuit. Japan’s Foreign Ministry warned that liquidating assets would “‘invite a great situation for both Japan and Korea” (“Japan Protests South Korean Court Order that Mitsubishi Heavy Sell Assets,” The Japan Times, September 28, 2021, https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2021/09/28/national/south-korean-court...)

Korea

During a Korea Society Program, a high-level representative of Samsung, the world’s largest memory chipmaker, called upon the US White House to “‘swiftly make a decision to incentivize chip investment.’” Samsung is planning to pour $17 billion of FDI into a new chip factory, reportedly in Texas, that would make it one of the largest foreign investors in the US. Samsung also wants greater tax breaks because it “plans to apply cutting-edge processing technology to the soon-to-be-constructed new semiconductor plant” (Kim Yoo-Chul, “Samsung Asks US to Give More Tax Credits for Chip Investment,” The Korea Times, September 25, 2021, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2021/09/133_315975.html)

A European Commission representative traveled to Korea in late September to meet with representatives of leading Korea semiconductor makers like Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. In Korea, this representative enumerated incentives for Korean chip makers to establish operations within the European Union (EU). The EU has embraced the goal of building up its share of global semiconductor production and is allocating substantial money towards this end as well as adjusting its industrial policy. The EU, however, is not that attractive a market destination for Korean chipmakers (Kim Eun-jin, “Korean Semiconductor Companies Courted by the EU,” BusinessKorea, September 30, 2021, http://www.businesskorea.co.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=77589)

Concerned about the shortage of chips facing the US automobile industry, the US Department of Commerce has demanded that Korean chipmakers like Samsung provide vital, confidential business information such as customer lists, customer shares, and supply chain information. Korean companies are highly concerned about how this could affect their competitive position and bargaining power because of the potential leakage of information. Some have called for the Korean government to take an active role in countering US requirements given its potential ramifications (Kim Bo-eun, “Korea Urged to Confront US Calls for Key Chip Info,” The Korea Times, September 30, 2021, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2021/09/133_316147.html)

China’s measures to limit online game time for gamers under 18 could have a significant effect on Korean game companies like Krafton and Pearl Abyss because Korean game firms “have a high dependency on the Chinese market.” Korean game companies were already under pressure after Chinese official media “strongly criticized online games as ‘spiritual opium.’” The loss of young Chinese gamers itself is not a big deal, but Chinese regulatory measures imply a tough operating environment and slower growth in the future (Baek Byung-yeul, “China’s Tougher Regulations Set to Impact Korean Game Companies,” The Korea Times, September 1, 2021, https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/tech/2021/09/134_314808.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.