COVID-19

MNCs in the News-2022-January

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) touts that China will act to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) despite a challenging environment. In the wake of a backlash following its removal of Xinjiang products from its shelves, Guangdong Administration for Market Regulation fines Sam’s Club for deceptive consumer practices on its app. Beijing municipal government fines 7-Eleven China for the latter’s website maps that have problematic presentations of Taiwan and other territory. China’s work and the presence of dredgers at Cambodia’s Ream naval base concern the United States and others that China’s seeks to station military assets there. Indian tax authority probe causes it to demand Xiaomi India pay unpaid customs duties. Sri Lanka asks China for debt relief on loans used to pay for Belt and Road Initiative projects. Ruling parties from Japan and Taiwan agree to pursue cooperation on semiconductors to alleviate semiconductor shortages and address the China high-tech challenge. Japanese companies remain committed to Myanmar despite the latter’s serious political, economic, and other problems. The chair of Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) promises to continue to improve the KFTC’s regulation while supporting innovation. Apple submits plan to Korea Communications Commission that allows alternative in-app payment systems and reduces payment fees.

MNCs in the News-2021-November

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports China’s utilized inward foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first 10 months of 2021 increased 17.8 percent over the prior year period. China imposes various fines on Taiwan’s Far Eastern Group, pointing out that independence supporters and “‘their connected companies and financiers must be punished.” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon quip about the longevity of his firm versus the Chinese Communist Party leads to multiple apologies. China’s State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) issues a guidance document about anti-monopoly compliance that includes provisions relating to anti-trust practices and risks overseas. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Pakistan encounters various serious challenges and disappointments. China’s high-speed BRI railway in Laos officially opens with questions about its ability to deliver the economic goods and economic viability. Japanese government taking steps to institute a system for intensified security screening of foreign goods, parts, and service providers. Japan will enhance cooperation with International Labor Organization (ILO) to ensure Japanese companies have better human rights due diligence systems. Korean legislator charges that Apple and Google are not sufficiently complying with law barring dominant app store operators from forcing app developers to use their payment systems. Korea’s SK Hynix may not be able to upgrade memory chip factory in China due to United States opposition to its planned use of ASML chip making equipment.

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-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.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part III-Implications for China’s Outward FDI

This piece complements two earlier pieces that, respectively, overviewed China’s Dual Circulation System (DSC) and pondered its implications for inward foreign direct investment (FDI) into China. It specifically focuses on the potential ramifications of the DCS for Chinese outward FDI (OFDI). Prima facie one logically might expect the DCS to moderate Chinese OFDI since its goals include inter alia enhancing China’s indigenous capabilities, insulating China from an occasionally hostile external environment, and increasing domestic consumption and production. In actuality, though, these and other DCS aims do not support the premise the DCS will result in Chinese money shunning the outside world.

MNCs in the News-2021 January

China receives the largest amount of inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2020. China’s 2020 revised catalog of encouraged FDI takes effect increasing the number of encouraged sectors. China issues rules to counteract foreign extraterritorial sanctions affecting its nationals and companies. Renewable energy investments dominate China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) energy infrastructure investments in 2020, though coal remains prominent. India makes ban on dozens of Chinese mobile phone apps permanent due to national security and data privacy concerns. China asks India to clarify its permanent ban against Chinese mobile apps. Japan creates English-language, one stop shop to help foreign financial firms set up operations in Japan. United States (US) sanctions against Huawei and limits on Huawei’s involvement in foreign telecommunications infrastructure projects led Japan’s Sumitomo to turn elsewhere for business. Brexit deal between United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) will keep Nissan producing electric vehicles in the UK. Japan unconvinced Korean President Moon Jae-In’s labeling of a 2018 Supreme Court decision on corporate assets as “undesirable” will solve anything. The head of GM Korea emphasizes labor issues as one of the factors that reduce South Korea’s appeal as a destination for FDI. SK Innovation to invest $895 million into a battery plant in Georgia, a move some feel is about winning a case before the US International Trade Commission. Daewoo Engineering & Construction wins major port facility contracting deal in Iraq. Korea Hydro & Nuclear Power gets contract for major dams in Pakistan.

Executive Director Jean-Marc F. Blanchard interviewed for Financial Times story on strong inward FDI flows into China and changing outward FDI situation

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 Financial Times story examining China's continuing success in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) despite Covid-19 and political tensions between the United States and China. The story highlighted China's continuing economic growth, strength in particular economic sectors like logistics, and opening of certain sectors such as financial services as drivers of the positive inward FDI data.

MNCs in the News-2020 December

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) release revised 2020 catalog of encouraged industries for foreign direct investment (FDI). China’s NDRC issues rules relating to FDI national security reviews. China’s Standing Committee of National People’s Congress considering amendment to criminal law that would increase prison terms for intellectual property rights (IPR) crimes. Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) in Latin America in 2020 a bright spot versus Chinese OFDI (COFDI) in other regions like Europe. China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs stresses at news briefing that FDI in Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC has not declined with many projects showing good results despite Covid-19. United States (US) Congress to provide billions of dollars to fund removal of ZTE and Huawei equipment from US telecommunication carriers’ systems. Japan not succeeding in attracting foreign financial firms due to tax, red tape, language barriers, and other factors. Japan 5G players gain potential new openings due to global crackdown on Chinese companies such as Huawei and ZTE. United Kingdom (UK) and European Union (EU) post-Brexit deal may not prevent Japanese carmakers from leaving the UK. Japanese group to supply $1.8 billion for coal-fired power plant in Vietnam despite complaints about the environmental impact of the plant. Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) will administer a survey to Google Play Store users to accelerate its review of Google’s plan to increase application transactions to 30 percent. Hyundai Heavy Industries Holdings receives Chinese government approval for its $1.8 billion acquisition of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering. Korea electric vehicle (EV) battery makers move to diversify away from China, turning to other countries and local firms for raw materials and components. LG Group has signed a major investment deal with Indonesia that would facilitate its access to EV battery raw materials and product.

MNCs in the News-2020 November

Foreign direct investment (FDI) into China continues to surge despite Covid-19 and other challenges. China’s Ministry of Commerce says China will take further measures to liberalize ownership restrictions for foreign firms in the service sector. Shanghai shows strength in attracting inward FDI (IFDI) and adds to its regional headquarters and research and development center totals. India moves to ban an additional 43 Chinese phone apps including Aliexpress due to concerns about consumer privacy and national security. China states it will continue to support the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Malaysian state government of Melaka terminates $10.5 billion Melaka Gateway project. Nissan moves to sell only electric vehicle (EV) or hybrid cars in China to meet Beijing’s goal of all new vehicles being eco-friendly. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is expected to have notable impacts on Japanese FDI as well as supply chains given its provisions relating to tariffs, rules of origins, and intellectual property. Brexit may lead the European Union (EU) to slap tariffs and other requirements on EVs which have significant adverse effects on Japanese EV production in the United Kingdom. Tokyo Gas and Marubeni will construct a liquefied natural gas fired power plant in Vietnam. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission reportedly has come to the conclusion that Google abused its market position to prevent modified Android operating systems. The labor union at IKEA Korea strikes for similar wage treatment to workers at IKEA workers elsewhere. Some Korean steelmakers return back home due to government subsidy program. Korean consortium wins engineering, construction, and operations contract for $1 billion bridge project in Bangladesh.

Founding Executive Director Jean-Marc F. Blanchard interviewed for Financial Times story about plummeting China-US bilateral investment

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 Financial Times story covering plummeting foreign direct investment (FDI) flows between China and the United States (US). The story described trends in bilateral FDI statistics, identified some of the reasons such as Covid-19 and tensions between Beijing and Washington for the depressed numbers, and noted some future risks. Asked to comment on the reasons for the dismal bilateral FDI flows situation, Dr.

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