Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

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.

MNCs in the News-2021 March

China Ministry of Commerce spokesperson says China’s new foreign investment security review will not impose unnecessary burden on normal foreign businesses. China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee Chairman says China will press forward on efforts to combat the extraterritorial application of foreign sanctions. China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission gives foreign investors the right to acquire a 51+ percent stake in Chinese insurance companies. China’s economic sanctions against members of European Parliament threaten to disrupt the ratification process of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). Sweden’s H&M faces backlash because of its stance of working with factories in or products from Xinjiang. Chinese executives in state-owned enterprises in Myanmar say turmoil in the country has not affected Belt and Road Initiative projects. Brexit has adversely affected Japanese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United Kingdom. The head of SBI Holdings says he will move the firm’s brokerage out of Hong Kong due to the evolving political situation. Line takes steps to limit the access of Chinese affiliates and contractors to Japanese data and shift data from Korea to Japan. Japan’s Fast Retailing suffers disruptions due to fires set at two of its Myanmar suppliers in wake of military coup. Korea advances industrial cluster scheme to increase its local production capabilities in the wake of tensions with Japan and Covid-19 related disruptions. In response to complaints, Google Korea will lower in-app purchase commission for smaller app developers. South Korean companies partnering with Chinese internet platform and fintech firms worry that Beijing’s increasing regulation of the latter may adversely affect their joint ventures. The governor of Georgia asks US President Biden to overturn a United States International Trade Commission ruling that threatens a SK Innovation factory in Georgia.

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.

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.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

Circling around China’s Dual Circulation Policy, part I-Ins and Outs

In May 2020, China’s two-track “dual circulation” strategy (DSC) came to light. An internal circulation track—the “mainstay”—encompasses domestic consumption and production. An external circulation track entails more opportunities for foreign direct investment (FDI) and efforts to expand China’s external connections.

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 October

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) says that inward foreign direct investment (FDI) increased 5.2 percent for the first nine months of 2020 when compared to the same period the prior year. China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee approves revised export control law. Germany says reciprocity needed if there is to be a European Union-China investment agreement and notes barriers facing European companies in China remain too high. State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) of the State Council points out Central State-owned Enterprises (SOEs) contribution to China and the realization of is 13rd Five-Year Plan. Sweden bans Huawei and ZTE from its core 5G mobile networks. Italy prevents Fastweb, the Italian unit of Swisscom, from using Huawei equipment in its core network. Japan will not participate in US initiative to block Chinese companies from participating in its telecommunications systems. Japan’s NEC Corp. will support United Kingdom government in its effort to develop a next generation 5G wireless network. Consortium led by Japan’s Sumitomo Corp. will develop massive $4.29 billion smart-city project in Hanoi. Mitsubishi Motors will work with Thailand agency to develop system that would allow electric vehicle batteries to power homes. Korean Fair Trade Commission to set up plan to investigate Google for potential abuses of its mobile operating system. Seoul to require Korea Resources Corp. to sell off certain assets to improve its financial condition. Samsung Fire & Marine and Samsung Life face criticisms for support of coal projects and investments through project financing, bonds, and insurance underwriting. Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction signs $2.2 billion contract with Vietnam’s VAPCO for massive coal power plant.

Wong MNC Center orchestrated volume entitled China’s Maritime Silk Road, Africa, and the Middle East: Feats, Freezes, and Failures publicized on Palgrave MacMillan

China’s Maritime Silk Road, Africa, and the Middle East: Feats, Freezes, and Failures is now publicized on the Palgrave MacMillan website. This edited volume, initiated and brought to fruition by the Mr. & Mrs. S.H.

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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