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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.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

China Expands the BRI in the Caribbean: Jamaica on the Mind

In April 2019, Jamaica signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The two countries have had a positive relationship in recent years, with Chinese companies and banks active in the Caribbean country through such actions as Jiuquan Iron and Steel (JISCO)’s acquisition of Alpart in 2016, the proposed development of an Industrial Park and Special Economic Zone, and the completion of two state-of-the art early childhood institutions.

MNCs in the News-2018-08-03

Shanghai’s release of 100 policies seems to be drawing in foreign direct investment (FDI) in advanced manufacturing and benefitting foreign firms in remanufacturing. Google reportedly will launch censored search engine in China in 6-8 months. China’s National Development and Reform Commission lightens up restrictions on overseas borrowings by Chinese companies. Negative security review leads Yantai Taihai Group to drop plan to buy Germany’s Leifeld Metal Spinning AG. Japan, US, and Australia agree to invest in infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific in an apparent move to counter China. Japan seeks to cooperate with Moscow on construction of liquefied natural gas transfer hub in Russia’s Far East to minimize supply risks. Korean government to invest USD $1.3 trillion in 10-year next-generation semiconductor project to attract global semiconductor firms to set up plants in Korea. South Korea bolstering efforts to win bid for Saudi Arabia nuclear project after losing bid for United Kingdom construction project.

MNCs in the News-2018-07-27

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) drafting rules that would subject more foreign direct investments (FDI) to its national security review process. Diverse United States (US) airlines move to comply with China’s order regarding the treatment of Taiwan on their websites and in maps. Chinese mergers and acquisitions activity in the US in the first half of 2018 has plummeted versus the comparable period last year due to political and other factors. Chinese investors kicking out their European soccer club investments due to Beijing’s crackdown on “irrational” overseas FDI. Rosneft, a Russian state-owned firm, files USD $1.4 billion lawsuit against Japanese and other stakeholders in Sakhalin oil and gas project. Just days after Japan passes controversial law allowing development of three new casino resorts, Genting Singapore forms five new subsidiaries in Japan. Laos to investigate possible construction flaws after dam collapse that was built by joint venture involving South Korean, Thai and Lao companies. Korea’s financial regulator helping Korean financial firms expand into overseas markets due to saturated domestic market.

MNCs in the News-2018-03-09

China National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) states China will improve noticeably market access and operating conditions for foreign direct investment (FDI) this year. American Chamber of Commerce in South China reports that number one concern of American businesses in China because of the is China's cybersecurity law. European Union (EU) may adopt legislation relating to inward FDI this year as a result of rising security concerns especially where Chinese FDI involved. Beijing's controls on outward Chinese FDI do not dent Fosun acquisition spree in clothing and luxury goods areas. Nissan in talks with Renault to acquire bulk of French state's 15 percent Renault stake. Japanese companies still waiting to see what happens with Great Britain's EU Brexit negotiations before deciding how to react to Brexit. GM Korea to ask Korean government to make its Korean factory sites foreign investment zones so it can get tax concessions. Doublestar reaches agreement with Korea Development Bank on purchase of 45 percent stake in Kumho Tire as union protests continue. Jakarta makes it easier to invest in energy and mineral sector by reducing regulations and licensing burdens. Prudential in talks with Malaysia's second largest pension fund to sell 30 percent stake in Malaysian unit following Malaysian central bank move to reduce foreign investment stakes. Telekom Malaysia signs memorandum of understanding with Huawei to work together on expanding fiber broadband network reach in Malaysia. Vietnam revokes investment license for foreign-owned oil refinery project. Legal expert says that foreign investors are interested in developing infrastructure projects in Vietnam including the North-South highway but hesitate because of legal problems.

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-2018-02-23

China to use mechanism of internationalization including inward foreign direct investment (FDI) in mixed ownership reform to enhance ability of state-owned enterprises. For 2018, Guizhou aims for $150 billion in investment money from outside the province including small and medium-sized enterprises from foreign countries. Chinese outward FDI in January 2018 jumps over same period a year earlier. Chinese government constraints on outward FDI become even tighter. Japanese airbag manufacturer Takata receives US court approval for its bankruptcy exit plan. Japanese steelmaker JFE Holdings concerned Trump's protectionist rhetoric could impede own investment plans to build US based plant. Korea Expressway Corporation signs MoU for Indian highway construction following agreement between Korean and Indian government to support USD $10 billion in Indian infrastructure. GM proposes investing USD $2.8 billion in its Korean operations, but calls for government assistance to maintain its remaining plants. Russian diversified energy holding company Inter Rao seeking to develop Indonesia's Bandar Kayangan Global Hub. Finance Minister says Indonesia to revise tax incentives to attract more investment. Thailand's government approaches Japanese robotics maker and other engineering manufacturers to build facilities along its EEC. Manila Water Company acquires 18.72 percent stake in Thailand's Eastern Water to enter Thailand's EEC. Thailand's Superblock Pcl plans to invest USD $1.76 billion to build wind farms in Vietnam in sync with Hanoi's renewables policy.

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The Return of the Great Game and Infrastructure

The Great Game was a geopolitical contest for influence and dominance in Central Asia between Tsarist Russia and the British Empire that occurred in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The game was played out over vast distances, with a mix of spies, money and armies.

MNCs in the News-2017-10-20

At 19th Party Congress, China promises greater market openness for foreign investors, but foreign businesses and governments cautious. Top China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) official says foreign banks may get more latitude in entering and operating in China’s banking sector. Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) plummeted 41.9 percent over the first nine months of 2016 year-over-year. In the first three quarters of 2016, Chinese outward merger and acquisitions activity drops significantly in both deal volume and size. Toyota and Mazda seek USD $1 billion incentive package from US states bidding for their joint car factory. SoftBank Group struggling to carry out US investments after several of its deals have been caught up in the CFIUS review process. US Department of Justice demands Kobe Steel release all information related to it falsified steel and metal data. SK-Sinopec JV to expand its Wuhan Petrochemical plant mirroring success of SK Innovation’s China Insider strategy. Korean battery manufacturers finding backdoors into the Chinese market despite Chinese government’s preferential treatment of domestic firms. Indonesia works to attract private investment despite bad atmosphere created by problems with Freeport-McMoran. Freeport-McMoRan facing labor union protests over anticipated layoffs. New US-Thai joint committee formed to increase bilateral investment following Thai Prime Minister’s recent US visit. Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industries leads trade mission to Europe to attract German investment. MITI reports a decline in investments this year. Vietnamese government begins implementing its divestment plan for Dung Quat Oil Refinery, attracts foreign investors. Foreign brewers eagerly awaiting Vietnamese government’s divestment plans for country’s largest domestic brewer Sabeco.

MNCs in the News-2017-09-08

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission states China is moving to increase foreign involvement in the insurance sector. In conjunction with the latest BRICs meeting, State Grid of China touts its contribution to and presence in Brazil. Kawasaki Heavy Industries competing for USD $3.2 billion contract to build subway cars from New York’s state-run Metropolitan Transpiration Authority. Foxconn joins bidding process for Japanese chipmaker Toshiba’s USD $19.5 billion NAND memory technology. North Korea’s missile launch explodes USD $1.5 billion South Korea’s shipbuilding industry deal with foreign firm. Beijing Hyundai resumes operation at stalled Changzhou (China) facility, but the firm still faces many other challenges. Freeport McMoran to retain control over operations of Grasberg mine, with USD $750 million investment to be made next year. Indonesia urges APEC to boost cross-border investment by supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises. Thailand's small and medium-sized enterprises urged to invest in Mandalay, Myanmar because of favorable economic and political environments. Tien Phong Industrial Zone JSC and Russia’s Seaport of Azov sign memorandum of understanding to jointly build Vietnam-Russia Industrial Complex. South Korean investment in Vietnam continues to soar as tariffs reductions from the ASEAN-Korea free trade agreement slowly come into effect.

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