Canada

Dr. Amitendu Palit's picture

Investments and Connectivity: Digital Capacity Matters

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and upcoming regional connectivity plans like the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC) should stimulate foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in countries getting connected and developing new industrial and other capacities. These investments, among other factors, would be driven by local and national capacities to do business across cyberspace. Discussions on connectivity often overlook this vital element as they focus on land and sea links.

MNCs in the News-2018-06-15

Investigation reveals Foxconn factory in China supplying Amazon products has serious problems regarding labor conditions. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) for first five month of 2018 shows impressive growth over 2017. China’s SF Motors drives ahead in effort to build electric vehicle manufacturing plant in Indiana (United States). Fears about potential Chinese dominance lead Vietnam to protest their government’s special economic zones plan. Japanese firms making own deals with American states that “go their own way” in pursuing investment opportunities. Mexico’s Economy Minister visiting Japan as country seeks to diversify investment and exports amid NAFTA talks impasse. Korean firm announces $1.7 billion investment plan for liquefied natural gas infrastructure in Philippines following President Duterte’s recent Seoul visit. South Korean construction companies forming task forces and planning investments in North Korea following US and North Korea summit. Mahathir set to “woo investors and offer business deals” during recent Japan visit. Malaysian state Perak to cooperate with EU to strengthen investment cooperation.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Mapping out Your Maps: Gaps over Territorial and Maritime Views

Recently, GAP, an American apparel firm, caught fire in China because one of its t-shirts selling in Canada had a map of China that did not include Taiwan or South Tibet. This incident follows several other ones involving well-known multinational companies (MNCs) such as Germany’s Audi and Daimler Benz, the US’s Marriott International, Delta and United Airlines, and Medtronix, and Spain’s Zara.

MNCs in the News-2018-03-02

Apple stores key for accessing Chinese users iCloud data in China raising human rights and privacy concerns. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) opposition causes Xcerra to terminate sale to Chinese investment fund. Chinese automakers not braking on their overseas expansion despite legal and regulatory issues facing outward foreign direct investment (FDI). Shanghai government takes over CEFC China Energy. Toyota to build next generation of Auris model cars in England despite worries about effect of Brexit. Kubota Corp. to spend over USD $3.1 billion on three new US production plants in a bid to mitigate foreign exchange risks and jump market barriers. Mounting pressure in the US to impose trade restrictions on various Korean-made products cause Samsung Electronics to consider more US based production facilities. Kumho Tire under pressure to find new majority shareholder given opposition to Chinese investment in a firm that operates defense businesses. Foreign investors charged up about investment opportunities in Indonesian electric vehicle battery sector because of the country's backward energy infrastructure and battery technology. Indonesia's BIBU plans to work with foreign partners/investors to build a new airport in Bali subject to Ministry of Transportation approval. Russia proposes joint innovation fund with Thailand to increase investment in technology. Najib Razak announces Saudi Arabia's state-owned oil and gas conglomerate Aramco will invest USD $7 billion into Malaysia before March 31. Vietnam approves Vietcombank's sale of a 10 percent stake to foreign investors as Hanoi rolls back restrictions on foreign investment in the sector.

MNCs in the News-2017-08-04

Donald Trump administration contemplates using Section 301 of the 1974 Trade Act to challenge China’s technology transfer and intellectual property right protection practices. Foreign businesses increasingly fret about the burdens to be flowing from China’s rejection of non-approved virtual private networks (VPNs) and other data controls/restrictions. China’s Ministry of Finance issues a guideline to limit risk of overseas investments by state-owned enterprises (SOEs). Foxconn Technology Group announces major planned investment in the United States (US) to do R&D work relating to self-driving vehicles perhaps due to Trump’s efforts to bring more manufacturing to the US. Workers at Nissan’s Mississippi factory vote on whether to join the United Auto Workers. Japan’s JFE Holdings Inc. considers further investment into India’s JSW Steel Ltd as a way to profit from increased steel demand potentially flowing from Indian Prime Minister Modi’s economic plans. South Korean firms struggle in the Middle East due to government indifference and rising political tensions. South Korea’s LA Cable & System signs USD $195 million contract with Qatar’s state owned utilities firm. Jakarta focuses on simplifying investment application process for foreign firms seeking investment licenses. Indonesia’s government will start taking bids in September for construction of six massive geothermal power plants. Thailand and Australia discuss revising the Thailand-Australia Free Trade Agreement to increase investment and trade. Indian Oil Corp Ltd in talks with partners to search for cheaper location for Pacific Northwest LNG terminal after recent withdrawal of Petronas. South Korea’s Lotte signs Eco-Smart city development contract with Vietnam’s People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam’s Prime Minister confirms that creation of Vietnam’s first three special economic zones would enjoy special rules to attract greater investment.

MNCs in the News-2016-11-11

China approves cyber security law despite intense lobbying by foreign business associations, firms, and governments. China reportedly is considering allowing foreign investment banks to have wholly owned operations on the mainland. China Development Bank Capital (CDBC) and Microsoft have formed a partnership to “promote technology innovation and smart city development.” Germany withdraws approval for a group of Chinese investors’ 670 million euro purchase of Aixtron. The German government is seeking greater powers to investigate and potentially block Chinese acquisitions of German companies. China has expressed concerns about Germany’s seeming new protectionist stance towards Chinese investment. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel speaks strongly about protecting German interests and gets the cold shoulder during a visit to China. High-level officials from the United Kingdom (UK) and Britain meet to discuss new investment collaborations in the financial sector. The Japanese government pushes Japanese firms to invest in Russia to help facilitate a resolution of the Russo-Japanese Northern Territories/Southern Kurils dispute. Japanese Trade minister Hiroshige Seko and Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka agreed to promote economic development projects in Russia’s Far East ahead of a summit between their leaders in December. Japan’s JFE Engineering Corporation will start constructing greenhouses in Primorsky Krai in cooperation with a Russian federal state enterprise. The President of the Japanese chambers of commerce in Britain and the European CEO of Mitsubishi warns that more than general assurances about Brexit are needed to comfort Japanese firms in the UK. Korea and Oman establish basis for Korean companies to participate in almost $27.1 billion in energy and infrastructure projects in Oman. Korea Gas Corporation moving forward on cooperation with China National Petroleum Corporation on natural gas trading, joint international projects, and information sharing. Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia has jumped following repeated high-level meetings between the Presidents of the two countries. Donald Trump’s victory dampens the opportunities for US energy companies in Indonesia. Jack Ma opts to serve as an advisor to Malaysia rather than Indonesia about the e-commerce economy. Chinese technology giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and Wanda Group have expressed their interests in participating in Malaysia’s digital economy plan. During his recent visit to China, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak signed 14 memorandum of understandings totaling USD $47.5 billion. Pundits note both future opportunities and risks relating to increase Chinese investments in Malaysia.

MNCs in the News-2016-03-04

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, China plans to “lower entry barriers for foreign investors.” MOFCOM representatives also indicate that “China will support foreign participation in its drive to reform state owned enterprises (SOEs).” Foreign Ambassadors present letter to China’s Ministry of Public Security to express their anxieties about China’s new counterterrorism law, draft security law, and draft law on the management of foreign non-government organizations. Qualcomm reaches settlement with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission regarding allegations of improperly hiring the relatives of Chinese officials and giving lavish gifts. According to news reports, in contrast to its battles with the US FBI, Apple is showing great flexibility towards the Chinese government. Three members of the US Congress ask for increased scrutiny of Zoomlion’s purchase of US Terex Corp. Problems caused by increased scrutiny of Chinese outward investments led to deals with unusual termination fees and deal terms. Massive Chinese state-owned enterprise investments in Europe fuel concerns. Olympus Corp. will pay the US Justice Department a $623 million fine due to kickback payments and its giving of luxurious gifts. Korean government-business delegation journeys to Iran and concludes numerous deals. A South Korean wins Bolivian deal to build a new city in Bolivia. Indonesia plans to set up a “China Desk” to better Chinese investors. Vietnam shows substantial increases of FDI during the first two months of 2016. Vietnam needs to provide more information to solve problems of foreign investors.