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MNCs in the News-2021-August

China’s utilized inward foreign direct investment (FDI) showed solid growth over the first seven months of 2021 compared to the prior year period. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) is working to develop an improved negative list for 2021. China’s MOFCOM orchestrates site visits for foreign Chambers of Commerce, industry associations, and businesses in Xinjiang. China’s outward FDI (OFDI) to Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries shows solid growth for the first seven months of 2021 year-over-year (YOY), though China’s total nonfinancial OFDI growth rate was negative YOY. India’s massive infrastructure plans attract the cautious interest of Chinese companies and investors. Chinese companies hope regime change in Afghanistan will lead to improved security and stability that facilitates restarting investment and infrastructure projects and initiating new ones. The Japanese government moves to implement a law limiting FDI or activities in sensitive areas such as near military installations or critical infrastructure. Japan’s Kirin Holdings has no intention to exit Myanmar despite the political turmoil that has flowed the military coup there. South Korea moves towards the approval of a law that will limit the ability of firms like Google and Apple for force software developers to use their payment systems on in-app purchases. Korea levies fines and penalty surcharges against Facebook and Netflix for improper data collection, disclosure, and/or cross-border data transfer practices.

MNCs in the News-2021-June

China adopts law for countering foreign sanctions, which some in foreign business community in China fear may be applied against it. Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry in China releases report highlighting anxieties about uncertainties created for Japanese firms by a slew of new, ambiguous laws and regulations such as the unreliable entities list and national security review law. Current data do not support the thesis that China’s national security law for Hong Kong has damaged Hong Kong’s status as an international financial center. Chinese firms are expanding their overseas operations to escape home country competition, gain local knowledge, and so on. Chinese outward foreign direct investment in Belt and Road Initiative countries shows respectable growth over first five months of 2021 versus prior year period. Japan continues along the path of greater regulation of internet giants and their potential abuse of market power. South Korean district court dismisses wartime labor compensation lawsuit brought by a group of Koreans against 16 Japanese companies. Korean firms substantially increase their lobbying activities in the United States for various political and economic reasons. Korean consortium’s hopes to win nuclear power plant bid rise with Czech government’s decision to rule out the involvement of Chinese and Russian companies.

MNCs in the News-2020-September

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issues rules relating to China’s long-discussed “unreliable entities” list. MOFCOM tells foreign companies not to worry about unreliable entities list as it is not targeted at any specific country or company. China’s State Administration for Market Regulation is preparing to launch an antitrust investigation into Google relating to Google’s alleged abuse of the Android mobile operating system’s dominant position. MOFCOM, China’s National Bureau of Statistics, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange issue report showing Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) fell 4.3 percent year-over-year in 2019. Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) in the United States (US) plummets to record lows because of Covid-19 and US-China political frictions. Indian Minister says there will be no blanket ban on all Chinese mobile apps, nor will Chinese companies be excluded from 5G contracts for wireless equipment. The tightening of US restrictions on the export of semiconductors will have potent adverse effects on Japanese companies. Frictions relating to the fees Apple takes in conjunction with its App stores have sparked regulatory attention in Japan. Covid-19 and the resignation of former Prime Minister Abe Shinzo are hindering the expansion of Japanese OFDI in Africa. Hitachi may terminate its multi-billion-dollar project in the United Kingdom (UK) to build two nuclear reactors because of a failure to obtain UK government support to cover rising project costs. Korean semiconductor firms will suffer big loss of business due to new US restrictions on the export of semiconductors to Huawei. Korea Fair Trade Commission apparently sends signal to Google that it is being watched for its app store fee collection practices. Korea’s Hyundai Engineering & Construction led consortium wins $573 million railway project in the Philippines.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Dashing for the Door Due to Dealing in Data or Singapore Sling

The recent passage of the National Security Law for Hong Kong has raised all kinds of quandaries for high-technology and other companies, especially those that deal in data. This is so because the new law makes it easier for government authorities to access data, restrict the kinds of content that are published, and control the transmission of data. In the event of noncompliance with (vague and likely fluid) regulations, firms risk significant fines, imprisonment, or other sanctions. There has been a mild reaction by big firms such as Apple, Facebook, and Google, but they are not located in Hong Kong per se and their longer-term plans are unclear. Businesses actually located in Hong Kong face a serious quandary.

MNCs in the News-2020 May

China’s recently issued Guideline regarding its economy contains numerous favorable, albeit general, offerings for foreign direct investment (FDI). To retaliate against United States (US) exports controls against Huawei, China readies itself to add US companies to an “unreliable entity list” which may subject them to various sanctions. US Chamber of Commerce decries potentially excessive measures by US government to move supply chains away from China. United Kingdom looks to reduce Huawei involvement in its 5G network with Huawei potentially being removed from all telecommunications infrastructure by 2023. Chinese contractors plan to make substantial progress on Indonesia’s Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail over the balance of 2020. US pressure influences Israel to reject Hong Kong firm’s bid on strategically located, large-scale desalination plant. Japan categorizes firms into three groups as part of its effort to clarify what review processes apply to FDI pursuant to its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. New Japanese law requires technology companies operating e-commerce websites and apps to submit annual reports, notifications of contract changes, and establish complaint processes. In quest for supply chain resiliency, Japan will provide subsides to encourage Japanese firms to return to Japan or move to Southeast Asia. Realized inward FDI into Korea in the first quarter 2020 plunges over similar period last year due to shorter worker hours, higher minimum wages, and other factors. South Korean parliament passes legislation that likely forces content providers to share network costs with local internet service providers. US support for the Economic Prosperity Network raises fears among Korean companies they will be pushed to shift FDI to the US. Korean firm to make huge investment in UAE pipeline as part of its consortium’s winning bid.

MNCs in the News-2019-12-06

Per Chinese media, the Chinese government is on the verge of promulgating its “unreliable entities” list which will identify foreign companies that may be subject to sanctions. Beijing municipality moves to open its service sector to a wide variety of firms, though limitations will remain in some areas. Pledged foreign direct investment (FDI) from China into Vietnam surges to record levels over first 11 months of 2019. Online survey suggests that individuals in major Latin American countries have a generally positive view of Chinese FDI, though Japanese and German firms rank higher. Japan’s Internal Affairs Ministry proposes public-private team involving foreign and domestic players to develop mechanisms to fight fake news. Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) survey finds Japanese companies overseas increasingly pessimistic about effect of global events on their revenues. United States (US) chip firm Qualcomm fails to win overturning of record anti-monopoly fine by Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC and will take its case to Korean Supreme Court. SK Innovation, spurred by changing Chinese government policies regarding electric vehicle (EV) batteries, increasing EV manufacturing presence in China.

MNCs in the News-2019-11-08

China’s Ministry of Justice promulgates draft implementation rules for the country’s new foreign direct investment (FDI) law which contains a lot of positive news regarding intellectual property rights (IPR) and trade secrets. China rejects European Chamber of Commerce claims about the possibility of “promise fatigue.” China’s State Council issues 20 opinions with a strong emphasis on breaking down foreign entry and operating barriers in the banking, securities, and fund management sectors. Consultancy reports that China’s mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity jumped in 3rd quarter of 2019 versus 2nd, though it remained far under the highs of 2014. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission survey points out a number of internet giant practices that may violate the country’s anti-monopoly law. The United Kingdom’s Brexit is affecting an increasing amount of Japanese there such as by forcing them to develop alternative supply chains. China’s move to end subsidy programs for electric vehicles may give South Korean companies in China new business opportunities. South Korea’s Alliex partners with Vietnam’s Central on cashless payment system in Korea.

MNCs in the News-2019-09-20

Despite falling global foreign direct investment (FDI), China continues to show strength in attracting inward FDI (IFDI). Shanghai continues to be a magnet not only for IFDI, but also for regional headquarters and research and development facilities. The United States (US) has issued a regulation that will give the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States new powers to scrutinize FDI which many believe are directed at China. US Senators send Federal Communications Commission a letter asking it to review the operating licenses of Chinese telecommunications providers in the US. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) pushes Internet companies “to create a system to eliminate fake news and discriminatory postings.” Regarding Korea’s recent filing of a World Trade Organization complaint related to Japanese export controls, Japan has agreed to consultations. Korea FTC to decide if it will accept Apple Korea’s pledge to fix its alleged illegal collection of advertising fees from mobile carriers. Korea Electric Power Corp.’s coal mine development project in New South Wales rejected by Australia’s Independent Evaluation Committee.

MNCs in the News-2019-08-30

China’s plan to apply its social-credit system to foreign companies is raising concerns about possible abuses. China’s State Council announces it will establish pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi Zhuang, Yunnan, Hebei, and Heilongjiang. United States (US) companies likely to stay in China despite trade war, a problematic regulatory environment, and US President Donald Trump’s call for them to leave. Although frictions over maritime issues remain unsettled, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposes joint oil & gas development in Reed Bank area to visiting Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte. Japan is paying more attention to tax shifting activities by high-tech companies and has recently forced Facebook to pay more in taxes for some questionable tax shifting activities. After the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Japan and 53 African countries signed the Yokohama declaration which stressed “‘quality infrastructure investment.’” South Korea’s new policy for network fees has led to frictions with Facebook and service problems that led to fines which Facebook fought successfully in court. The Korea Startup Forum, the Korea Internet Corporations Association, and local and foreign content providers have called upon the South Korean government “to completely overhaul its network fee calculation structure.”

MNCs in the News-2019-07-19

Reports suggest that following intensifying China-United States (US) trade frictions, a growing number of foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) are considering moving their manufacturing out of China. At a recent China State Council meeting, officials state China aims to provide better intellectual property rights (IPR) protections and that it will treat domestic and foreign firms equally. China courts Japan’s involvement in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) purportedly to improve the BRI’s image. Bangladesh works to calm foreign investors in the wake of a violent clash between local and Chinese workers at the Chinese-invested Payra thermal power plant. Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) moves forward on guidelines to regular IT giants’ use of personal data without consent. Korea preparing plan to “‘to reduce the country’s dependence on Japan’s materials, components and equipment industries.’” Korean firms threatened by possibility that Japan will “remove Korea from its export white list.” Hyundai Motor Co. and Hyundai Motor America have requested the US International Trade Commission to start an investigation against four auto part importers.

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