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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-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-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.

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-2020-01-31

The coronavirus is affecting the operations of numerous multinational corporations (MNCs) in China, though many remain hopeful about the longer-term and are not overreacting. The former Chairman of China’s Sinopec opined that Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in sensitive areas and big deals would be avoided due to the contemporary political environment. Chinese firms win railway tenders in Namibia, where they already have a noteworthy presence. Japanese Diet bill proposes requiring major technology firms, foreign and domestic, to report annually to Japanese authorities on practices like data collection and also to establish complaint procedures. Due to the coronavirus, Toyota Motors suspends operations in China pending further review. South Korea seeks to create a better environment for domestic and foreign startups to promote growth. South Korean FDI in the US hits USD $10 billion for the fourth consecutive as relatively higher growth rates and lower taxes prove attractive.

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-2019-11-22

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) issues new negative list for market access. Despite trade war with United States (US) and slowing economic growth, China witnesses solid inward foreign direct investment (FDI) flows for 1st 10th months of 2019. FDI in China’s insurance sector shows notable developments in 2019. All-China Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese encourages overseas Chinese businesspeople to get involvement in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Japan’s Diet passes new investment law that tighten review criteria for inward FDI. Japanese firms may not see worse repercussions from Japan-South Korea political frictions. South Korea Fair Trade Commission (FTC) to create special task force to examine potential unfair business practices by domestic and foreign technology companies. Korea will leverage Korea-ASEAN 2019 Smart City Fair to promote Korean business involvement in smart city development.

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.

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