South China Sea

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.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

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.’”

MNCs in the News-2019-08-30

China’s plan to apply its social-credit system to foreign companies is raising concerns about possible abuses. China’s State Council announces it will establish pilot free trade zones (FTZs) in Shandong, Jiangsu, Guangxi Zhuang, Yunnan, Hebei, and Heilongjiang. United States (US) companies likely to stay in China despite trade war, a problematic regulatory environment, and US President Donald Trump’s call for them to leave. Although frictions over maritime issues remain unsettled, Chinese President Xi Jinping proposes joint oil & gas development in Reed Bank area to visiting Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte. Japan is paying more attention to tax shifting activities by high-tech companies and has recently forced Facebook to pay more in taxes for some questionable tax shifting activities. After the 7th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), Japan and 53 African countries signed the Yokohama declaration which stressed “‘quality infrastructure investment.’” South Korea’s new policy for network fees has led to frictions with Facebook and service problems that led to fines which Facebook fought successfully in court. The Korea Startup Forum, the Korea Internet Corporations Association, and local and foreign content providers have called upon the South Korean government “to completely overhaul its network fee calculation structure.”

MNCs in the News-2018-11-23

China working to improve opportunities for foreign players in its insurance sector. Shanghai looks to improve services for foreign companies which have a major presence in the city and are a major contributor to its economic successes. European Union moves forward on inward foreign direct investment (FDI) screening mechanism that is not directed at, but has a lot to do with China. Pursuant to Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act (FIRRMA) the United States (US) Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS) will now screen much smaller deals in various sectors newly deemed critical, greatly affecting Chinese deals. Philippines’ President Rodrigo Duterte’s move towards China does not seem to have paid off in terms of increased Chinese outward FDI (OFDI) and infrastructure in the Philippines. US prosecutors investigating Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFJ) for potentially allowing North Korea to launder money. To push forward infrastructure projects, Japanese Prime Minister advisor meets with Filipino officials soon after visit of Chinese President. South Korean manufacturers turn attention from China to Vietnam which offers a better policy, tax, and labor cost environment. South Korea’s POSCO Engineering & Construction Co.-led consortium wins major power plant contract in Malaysia.

MNCs in the News-2016-08-26

Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States clears ChemChina’s massive acquisition of Swiss agrochemicals giant Syngenta. Indonesia awards Chinese consortium construction permit for the full length of a USD $5 billion Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway line. Sino-Vietnamese tensions over the South China Sea have affected the operations of Chinese firms in Vietnam, but many Chinese businesspeople still feel Vietnam has investment appeal. Huawei works with Nigerian government to advance the latter’s national ICT objectives. Malaysia’s Sarawak is working on creating an appealing physical ecosystem to ensure it remains one of the favorite investment destinations for foreign investors.

MNCs in the News-2016-07-22

Inward FDI into China grew slowly over the first six months of 2016 year-over-year. The Permanent Court of Arbitration’s unfavorable ruling against China’s South China Sea claims sparks protests and boycott calls against American “icons” in China to the chagrin of the Chinese government. A Chinese consortium’s effort to buy the entire Opera Software company falls apart reportedly due to a failure to get sufficient Chinese government approvals. Japanese official travels to Singapore to tout the advantages of Japan high speed rail system for the Malaysia-Singapore high-speed rail project. South Korea’s Fair Trust Commission watchdog relaunches investigation into Google Inc.’s requirement that smartphone makers using its Android operating system preload its search engine. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is conducting a roadshow in Guangzhou to tout the country’s improving investment environment. Indonesia is working to help investors surmount problems that hinder them from realizing their investments and has developed special initiatives. The Malaysia Investment Development Authority (MIDA) is working on getting more companies to participate in its principle hub scheme. Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister calls on his country to be more selective in its FDI attraction efforts and to work on getting better FDI.

MNCs in the News-2016-06-10

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stressed to global CEO’s that his government would be acting to create a better environment for foreign investors. Xiaomi strikes a deal to buy roughly 1500 patents from Microsoft. Political uncertainties surrounding the US presidential election expected to lead Chinese firms to become more cautious about investing in the US. United States (US) Commerce Department gives a subpoena to Huawei Technologies as part of a probe in the latter’s exports or re-exports of US technology. Alibaba says it is cooperating with a US Securities and Exchange Commission probe into its accounting practices. Newly elected Philippines’’ President Rodrigo Duterte states that he would welcome Chinese bids on two major railway projects despite bilateral tensions. Japan’s Transport Ministry raids the headquarters of Suzuki Motor Corp. as part of an investigation into the validity of the company’s fuel economy tests. Mitsubishi Materials settles case of World War II slave laborers. Mitsui is cooperating with the Malaysian government on the massive Iskandar Malaysia project. A Japanese-Indonesian consortium Bhimsena Power Indonesia will move forward on a long-delayed coal-fired power plant in Indonesia. Nissan corporate headquarters will file an administrative litigation against the South Korean government for actions taken by the Korean Ministry of the Environment against it. Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction wins a 460 billion won deal from Kuwait’s Ministry of Electricity & Water to build a desalination plant. Experts criticize the implementation of Indonesia’s 12 reform packages. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) touts the positive effects of its new investment licensing service, but challenges remain. BKPM pleased by Japanese interest in multi-billion dollar projects. Uber seeks Thai Transport ministry approval for its drivers. Experts call upon the Vietnamese government to tighten environmental regulations for FDI projects.

MNCs in the News-2016-02-26

China will ban foreign companies, including foreign-invested joint ventures (JVs), from publishing online media, games, and other creative content within China’s borders. Deals involving Chinese companies receive the highest number of Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) reviews for the third straight year. US administration and Congressional sensitivity to Chinese investments in the US reportedly grows. Indian bullet train deal with Japan leads to new construction and parts opportunities for Japanese companies. Violent protests in Rohtak forces Maruti Suzki to suspend its production activities. Korea Industrial Complex Corporation will help Hoa Khanh Industrial Complex develop industrial symbiosis projects. Korea’s Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism awards integrated casino resort project to U.S. casino operator Mohegan Sun. Indonesia negative list and other policy measures directed at foreign investors draw increasing attention to the country. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board plans to boost foreign investment from Southeast Asia countries, especially Singapore and Malaysia. Indonesia’s cold-storage industry hopes government will act to shape the form and location of FDI in its sector. The Thai Payment Network will issue millions to card to advance government’s national e-payment initiative. Thailand’s Board of Investments will open branches abroad to help Thai companies invest overseas.

MNCs in the News-2015-12-18

Inward FDI in China continues to show growth year-over-year. European Chamber of Commerce in China President questions China’s interest in attracting foreign investment. Chinese NGO files a lawsuit against VW for its emissions testing cheating fraud. At the 2nd World Internet Conference (WIC), China’s President Xi Jinping promises to protect foreign companies’ legal rights. At the WIC, the Cyberspace Administration of China announces “China will manage cyberspace according to the rule of law, while providing more room for development based on the market” while President Xi stresses cyber sovereignty and the avoidance of internet hegemony. China shifts “Ten-Year Review of the World Summit on the Information Society” in a direction more to its liking. Microsoft partners with Chinese company to create joint venture that will allow it to sell Windows 10 to government market. AstraZeneca to increase investment in China. Chinese outward FDI for the first 11 months of 2011 exceeded $104 billion. Sinopec to build a fuel station on Woody Island in the South China Sea. Australia’s Defense Department strongly criticizes anxieties about the security implications of a long-term lease of a port in northern city of Darwin to a Chinese firm. Chinese state-owned enterprises purchase significant Australian infrastructure assets. Japan provides massive concessional loan to support India’s construction of its first bullet train. French government pledges not to interfere in Nissan. Japan looks to win Singapore-Malaysia bullet train project. Korean government will create industrial complexes in China and Vietnam and business centers around the world to help Korean firms expand abroad. Changes in Korean cloud market draw substantial foreign investor interest. South Korea gives China Everbright Bank permission to set up a branch in Seoul. Indonesian think tank calls for government to move against Freeport Indonesia contract extension.

Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard's picture

The Liability of Foreignness

Foreign firms have now found themselves confronting a challenging operating environment in Vietnam tied to violent demonstrations that involved thousands of protestors venting their displeasure with China’s deployment of an oil rig near the disputed Paracel/Xisha Islands, claimed by both China and Vietnam. Although protestors targeted “Chinese” firms, they also lashed out at plants owned or operated by firms from Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea. Indeed, factories with “any Chinese writing or names became targets of destruction.” Foreign companies suffered millions in losses from arson, looting, and vandalism, shutdowns, and damage to support facilities.