BRI

MNCs in the News-2021-September

China Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) looking at negative list for cross-border services trade in the country’s free trade zones (FTZs). China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology publishes draft regulations relating to the classification of data and data export restrictions. American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai indicates members doing well in China, optimistic about their revenue prospects, and have little intention to move outside of China. High-level Chinese official says Pakistan needs to provide high-level security assurances for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into India severely constrained by bilateral tensions, though some Chinese mobile apps have found new ways to resume operations. COSCO Shipping Ports, to acquire a 35 percent stake in container terminal at the Port of Hamburg. To settle a Japan Fair Trade Commission investigation, Apple modifies the payment policies for some App Store apps. Japan protests South Korean court order forcing Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) to sell assets to provide compensation for wartime forced labor. Samsung calls upon United States (US) to increase tax incentives for its semiconductor FDI in the US. European Commission representative travels to Korea to encourage Korean semiconductor markets to establish operations in the European Union. US Department of Commerce demands confidential business information from Korean chipmakers because of concerns about automobile sector chip shortages. China’s measures to limit online gaming time for young gamers have potentially big longer-term implications for Korean gaming companies.

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.

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Finding Greatness in China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA), part I: Diving into the Bay

Possessing about a decade-long lineage, China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) formally began in 2017 with the signing of a Framework Agreement between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The objective is to create a mega economic cluster, involving 11 cities (e.g., Guangzhou, Dongguan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Shenzhen) that will be a leading international financial hub, a major global innovation center, a critical node between China and Southeast Asia, a world-class research center in fields such as biotechnology, and, more recently, a major link to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

MNCs in the News-2021-July

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports strong inward foreign direct investment (FDI) growth over the first half of 2021 relative to 2020. China MOFCOM spokesperson assures foreign investors that China’s national security review process for FDI will be done selectively and carefully and that China is still open. Ericsson says declining results in China affected by Swedish government’s decision to ban Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network. Reduced outward FDI (OFDI) activity by Chinese firms for various reasons including Covid is dramatically reducing their foreign currency-denominated borrowings. The United Kingdom is reconsidering the involvement of Chinese state-owned enterprise (SOE) China General Nuclear in two British nuclear power plants. Chinese President Xi Jinping highlights Belt and Road Initiative in conversations with leaders from Ukraine, Turkey, and Barbados. Japanese OFDI deal counts and volumes show notable increase in the 2nd quarter of 2021. Japanese government moves as well as the risk of boycotts and investment divestitures drive Japanese textile industry to work to purge its supply chain from human rights abuses. In the face of a social media backlash and the risk of a boycott, Japan’s Toyota once again ceases PAC donations to members of the United States (US) Congress that denied the legitimacy of the 2020 US Presidential election. Korea’s Minister for Science and ICT supports tax on overseas platform companies while warning of potential overseas taxes on Korean companies. Korea paying increasing attention to country’s OFDI flows, with some worrying it might lead to deindustrialization and unemployment.

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-2021-May

According to China Ministry of Commerce statistics, China’s utilized foreign direct investment (FDI) over the 1st four months of 2021 showed impressive growth. In a recent report, the British Chamber of Commerce in China highlighted China’s data rules and data flow restrictions as new areas of concern on top of continuing issues like market access and the lack of a level playing field. The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has given the United States (US)’s Goldman Sachs approval to enter into a wealth management joint venture (JV). In the wake of new data rules and various image problems, Tesla announced the construction of a new data center in Shanghai to store information on gathered on local users and their vehicles. China’s initiation of economic sanctions against various European Union (EU) officials in response to EU sanctions against China has raised questions about whether or not the ratification process for the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment will move forward. China’s Landbridge rejected concerns that its 99-year lease of Australia’s Darwin port presents any kind of a national security threat. A Japanese Liberal Democratic Party group investigating methods to enhance Japan’s economic security has proposed the creation of a public-private body to develop solutions for public policy issues like supply chain resiliency. An official Chinese media piece warned various prominent Japanese apparel companies’ decisions to stop using Xinjiang cotton might cause them to lose business in China. Japanese export restrictions against South Korea are driving Japanese semiconductor material companies to increase their activities and in South Korea as a way to circumvent Tokyo’s economic sanctions. During Korean President Moon Jae-in’s summit with US President Joseph Biden, Korean companies proposed massive investments in manufacturing plants

MNCs in the News-2021-April

Tesla’s road in China becomes bumpier. China’s China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) accepts application from France’s BNP Paribas to set up securities firm in China. China’s foreign direct investment (FDI) in and lending to Africa switch from a focus on energy to minerals which also has implications for the countries that it targets. China’s Ministry of Commerce reports that non-financial outward FDI (OFDI) in the first quarter of 2021 grew 4.6 percent over the same period in 2020, with solid growth in OFDI to Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries. Japan’s Line works to improve disclosures and employee data handling practices in the wake of revelations employees at an affiliate in China accessed some of its users’ data. Major investment by Tencent subsidiary in Japan’s Rakuten draws regulatory attention due to concerns about the leak of personal information and technology from the latter to the former. Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) imposes fine on Apple Korea due to Apple Korea actions that disrupted a KFTC investigation of Apple Korea’s abuse of its market dominance. Korean actors move to organize lawsuit against Facebook which has been found by Korean regulators to have violated Korean law by sharing user data without consent. Korea’s Samsung and Hyundai Motor reportedly prepare big proposals for FDI in the US prior to upcoming summit between Korean President Moon and US President Biden. SK Innovation pays $1.8 billion to LG Energy Solutions to settle a dispute between the two firms relating to the former’s theft of electric battery trade secrets from the latter.

Executive Director Jean-Marc F. Blanchard interviewed for TI Observer article about US-China Economic Relations

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, Founding Executive Director of the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations, was interviewed for a Taihe Institute TI Observer article about China-United States (US) economic relations with a focus on foreign direct investment (FDI). Dr.

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The Digital Silk Road, part II-Dialing Down the Hyperbole

My last blog supplied a basic overview of China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR) initiative, part of its larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). This blog represents a first cut at detailing the DSR. Unfortunately, as with the BRI, it is quite challenging to do so well. Reasons include the non-existence of a public, official list of DSR projects, the misclassification of technology-related foreign direct investment (FDI) in areas such as smartphone manufacturing and semiconductor packing and testing operations as DSR-space FDI even though they have nothing to do with connectivity, and the unwillingness of participant countries to disclose the terms of their contracting deals with China.

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The Digital Silk Road, part I-Cloudy Networked World Calling

China’s Digital Silk Road (DSR), which is part of the larger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), came into being in 2015 and accelerated after 2017. Broadly speaking, the DSR promotes connectivity in the information and communication technology (ICT) space and encompasses projects relating to artificial intelligence, cloud computing, fintech (e-payments), smart and safe cities, and telecommunications. It is not entirely clear how many countries are participating in the DSR, though it has been reported that 16 countries have signed DSR Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with China.

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