infrastructure

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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.

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Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part II-Implications for Inward FDI

In my December blog, I overviewed China’s Dual Circulation System (DCS). To reiterate, foreign multinational corporations (MNCs) are concerned about the DCS’s emphasis on self-sufficiency, indigenous technology, and insulating China against the international market’s vagaries. Foreign MNCs, though, also see opportunities to satiate anticipated growth in domestic demand and the needs of a presumptively wealthier population, facilitate China’s efforts to promote high-quality development through inter alia the provision of “technology-focused products and services” (as one Michelin China CEO put it), and to supply the materials needed for China’s ramped up domestic infrastructure and production.

Executive Director Jean-Marc F. Blanchard participates in Middle East Institute report on China and the Black Sea

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, Founding Executive Director of the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations (Wong MNC Center), was invited to participate in an ambitious Middle East Institute (MEI) Frontier Europe Initiative report on China in the Black Sea region, which focused on China's expanded role in the region in the context of its mega Belt and Road Initiative.

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.

MNCs in the News-2020 August

On October 1, China will establish a new compliant mechanism that, among other things, will allow foreign business associations to raise concerns about the investment environment. China’s Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission has given permission for a second foreign asset management joint venture (JV), involving BlackRock and Temasek. Looking to exploit China’s financial sector opening, JPMorgan will spend a huge amount of money to take full control of its China mutual fund JV. Foreign pharmaceutical companies fail to win public hospital bulk medicine purchase contracts in China due to an apparent unwillingness to cut prices to near zero. China based firms such as Foxconn reportedly looking at expanding their presence outside China in countries such as Mexico due to troubled political economic environment. Sino-Indian tensions drive Alibaba to suspend plans for new investments in India. US backlists 24 Chinese firms because of their role in the building of South China Sea artificial islands. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in Belt and Road countries jumps nearly 29 percent for the first seven months of 2020 year-over-year. Japan will move to improve administrative procedures, such as allowing English paperwork, to draw in more FDI and improve Japan’s prominence as a financial center. Japan is considering tax and other measures to enhance Japan’s role as an international financial center. A Japanese ruling party official raises concerns about TikTok with respect to data privacy and national security. Japan, Australia, and India are discussing a supply chain resilience initiative. South Korean regulators are watching what the US, Japan, and India do vis-à-vis TikTok before they decide how to address relevant data privacy and national security concerns. India’s exclusion of Chinese telecommunications players like Huawei and ZTE from its 5G network may create openings for Korean players.

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Small Waves Precede Tidal Waves: American Sanctions on Chinese Companies involved in South China Sea Island Building and their Larger Ramifications

The United States (US) Department of Commerce recently blacklisted two dozen Chinese firms which it said, “played a ‘role in helping the Chinese military construct and militarize the internationally condemned artificial islands in the South China Sea.’” Companies listed included Guangzhou Haige Communications Group, China Shipbuilding Group, and China Communications Construction Co. (CCCC). The US State Department later accused CCCC and its subsidiaries of “‘corruption, predatory financing, environmental destruction and other abuses.’”

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Casting after Covid-19 or Premature Predictions about COFDI’s Demise

Last month, I wrote pessimistically about the prospects for foreign direct investment (FDI) in China in the post-coronavirus world. Contrastingly, I am not so pessimistic about the future of Chinese outward FDI (OFDI), though China’s economic situation, the challenged cash flows and balance sheets of Chinese investors (state-owned and private), and China’s ever present worries about capital flight will constrain OFDI amounts. This seemingly pollyannaish view derives from home (China) and host (recipient) country factors shaping Chinese OFDI (COFDI).

MNCs in the News-2020-04-24

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), more than 1000 companies including many from the United States (US), Germany, and Japan have registered from the 2020 November China International Import Expo. MOFCOM reports that China’s non-financial outward foreign direct investment (FDI) declined less than 1 percent year-over-year when compared to the 1st quarter of 2019. Many interpreted a recent India notification indicating special government scrutiny of FDI from bordering countries as directed against China as a time when Indian companies might be vulnerable. Canyon Bridge, the Chinese owner of the United Kingdom (UK)’s semiconductor designer Imagination Technologies, says the company’s headquarters will stay in the UK. Japan will add the medical sector to the list of sectors where FDI is subject to review pursuant to the Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Control Law. Japan’s NEC wins major deal to supply observation satellite to Vietnam. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission needs more time to review Delivery Hero’s deal to acquire Woowa Brothers due to concerns about the anti-competitive effects of the deal. Korea’s GS Engineering & Construction concludes a roughly $450 million deal with the Singapore’s Land Transport Authority to build an Integrated Train Testing Center.

Pichamon Yeophantong, Ph.D., has joined the Wong MNC Center as a Senior Research Fellow

Dr. Pichamon Yeophantong has joined the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations as a Senior Research Fellow. Dr. Yeophantong is an Australian Research Council Fellow, Senior Lecturer at the University of New South Wales Canberra, and leads a project examining the impacts of Chinese resource and infrastructure investment. For more information, please see http://www.mnccenter.org/research-fellows.

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.

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