South Korea

MNCs in the News-2016-11-11

China approves cyber security law despite intense lobbying by foreign business associations, firms, and governments. China reportedly is considering allowing foreign investment banks to have wholly owned operations on the mainland. China Development Bank Capital (CDBC) and Microsoft have formed a partnership to “promote technology innovation and smart city development.” Germany withdraws approval for a group of Chinese investors’ 670 million euro purchase of Aixtron. The German government is seeking greater powers to investigate and potentially block Chinese acquisitions of German companies. China has expressed concerns about Germany’s seeming new protectionist stance towards Chinese investment. German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel speaks strongly about protecting German interests and gets the cold shoulder during a visit to China. High-level officials from the United Kingdom (UK) and Britain meet to discuss new investment collaborations in the financial sector. The Japanese government pushes Japanese firms to invest in Russia to help facilitate a resolution of the Russo-Japanese Northern Territories/Southern Kurils dispute. Japanese Trade minister Hiroshige Seko and Russian Far East Development Minister Alexander Galushka agreed to promote economic development projects in Russia’s Far East ahead of a summit between their leaders in December. Japan’s JFE Engineering Corporation will start constructing greenhouses in Primorsky Krai in cooperation with a Russian federal state enterprise. The President of the Japanese chambers of commerce in Britain and the European CEO of Mitsubishi warns that more than general assurances about Brexit are needed to comfort Japanese firms in the UK. Korea and Oman establish basis for Korean companies to participate in almost $27.1 billion in energy and infrastructure projects in Oman. Korea Gas Corporation moving forward on cooperation with China National Petroleum Corporation on natural gas trading, joint international projects, and information sharing. Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in Indonesia has jumped following repeated high-level meetings between the Presidents of the two countries. Donald Trump’s victory dampens the opportunities for US energy companies in Indonesia. Jack Ma opts to serve as an advisor to Malaysia rather than Indonesia about the e-commerce economy. Chinese technology giants like Alibaba, Tencent, and Wanda Group have expressed their interests in participating in Malaysia’s digital economy plan. During his recent visit to China, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak signed 14 memorandum of understandings totaling USD $47.5 billion. Pundits note both future opportunities and risks relating to increase Chinese investments in Malaysia.

MNCs in the News-2016-10-28

Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) exceeds inward FDI (IFDI) by an increasing amount in September and for the first nine months of 2016. Chinese companies embrace diverse strategies to ensure host country stakeholders embrace their investments. ChemChina’s interactions with the European Union (EU) over its Syngenta acquisition raise new uncertainties about the deal. Chinese FDI flows into Germany now are almost double what they were for the prior ten years! Businesses from the Philippines glom in large numbers onto President Roberto Duterte mid-October trip to China. China Everbright Ltd. CEO criticizes the motives behind some COFDI. Toyota is waiting for news from the United Kingdom (UK) about the post-Brexit tariff situation before making any decisions about future investments in the UK. Despite Brexit, Nissan opts to built its new Qashqai model in the United Kingdom (UK). Japanese firm wins new contract work for Delhi-Mumbai freight railway. Marubeni and Sojitz win multi-billion dollar gas-fired power plant station contract in Indonesia. Korea Electric Power Corporation signs mega-contract to operate four UAE nuclear power plants that it also will build. FDI flows into Indonesia increased 7.8 in the third quarter year over year (YOY). Japanese firms show increasing confidence in increasing their investments in Indonesia. FDI flows into Thailand increase minimally, reflecting limited confidence in the country’s growth prospects. Foreign technology firms push Thailand to undertake various measures to maintain and advanced its status as a “digital nation.” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will focus on getting more Chinese investment during his trip to China. PowerChina International, Shenzhen Yantian Port Group, and Rizhao Port Group will work with Malaysia on a deep sea port in the Strait of Malacca.

Dr. Scott MacDonald's picture

The Hanjin Bankruptcy and Choppy Seas

In early September the Korean shipping company, Hanjin, went into bankruptcy, no longer able carry the burden of its $5.5 billion debt, a long string of losses, and brutally intense competition coupled with the loss of support from its bankers.

MNCs in the News-2016-08-19

China’s Foreign Ministry downplays worries about its cybersecurity law. Apple launches numerous initiatives to enhancing its operating environment in China. China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) asserts its rights to review Didi Chuxing-Uber Technologies China merger for potential antitrust issues. Second Australian rejection of a major Chinese investment this year spurs MOFCOM to warn Australia of consequences and to call upon the latter to create a better investment environment. Iran courts increased Chinese investment and prods China for greater involvement in the latter’s One Belt, One Road (OBOR) scheme. Korea’s Ministry of Environment will conduct a major investigation to find out if other foreign carmakers falsified emissions and noise level test data. Seoul’s Central District Prosecutors’ Office grills second Volkswagen Korea executive over allegations the company illegal changed car parts to pass emission tests. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission concludes that Google Korea’s preloaded apps and subsidies for search ads did not restrict market competition. Korea is moving to deal with map data requests from global companies. The Malaysian government continues to support the Iskandar Malaysia economic corridor, with foreign investment representing 40 percent of the money committed to the project. Vietnam’s realized inward foreign direct investment (IFDI) flows fall far below committed IFDI.

MNCs in the News-2016-08-05

Analysts speculate on the economic and political factors that drove the new British government to delay a decision on the Hinkley Point C project. Some conjecture British Prime Minister Theresa May has delayed the project due to national security considerations. Chinese government urges British government to move forward with Hinkley Point decision and hints at possible adverse consequences for relationship. France awards CGN one of its first industrial-scale offshore floating wind power projects. South Korea’s environmental ministry bans the sales and cancels certifications of 80 Volkswagen models over VWs fraudulent emissions and noise tests. South Korea’s National Tax Service Seoul Regional Office launches a tax probe into the Korean affiliate of Huawei Technologies Co. for possible tax evasion. Indonesia’s Investment Coordinating Board (BKPM) is confident of reaching its realized inward FDI (FDI) investment goals for 2016 because of its fast-track permitting process. BKPM chief downplays possibility that the South China Sea dispute will affect FDI flows, including from China, into Indonesia. Indonesian Energy and Mineral Resources Minister emphasizes the country plans to ensure all investors in the energy sector obey the country’s laws and rules. Thai oil and gas conglomerate PTT PLC says it is still in the process of developing a massive refinery and petrochemical plant in Vietnam. Registered inward FDI (IFDI) into Vietnam over the first seven months of 2016 soars over the same period year-over-year (YOY).

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-2016-07-15

China’s State Administration of Taxation has issued new guidelines for evaluating domestic and foreign companies’ tax performance. Under pressure, IKEA agrees to massive recall of Malm products in China. Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Co. stops producing the iEV6s sport utility vehicle featuring Samsung SDI’s batteries because the Chinese government did not approve the Samsung SDI battery possibly to retaliate against South Korea’s decision to accept the THAAD system. American Enterprise Institute analysis finds large percentages of Chinese outward foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016 are for mergers & acquisitions, by private firms, and going to the US. China to make good on its promise to invest $2.21 billion in European Fund for Strategic Investments. For some, Chinese investments in film sector raise questions about China’s impact on film distribution and content. After Brexit, Japanese car makers forced to revisit the logic of their investments in the United Kingdom. Korea’s Ministry of Environment will impose a series of harsh penalties against Volkswagen for the latter’s fraud regarding noise and gas emission data. Korea’s Fair Trade Commission is likely to impose a nearly $900 million fine on Qualcomm for the latter’s abusive technology licensing practices. Indonesian government seeks billions of dollars in investment to help develop tourist zones. Vietnamese government targets greater tourism sector investment. Vietnam seeks foreign investment to plug it highway system funding gap.

MNCs in the News-2016-07-08

Apple struggles to ensure China does not turn into a lemon. Walmart workers in China take widespread action against the company’s new working hours system. British Trade Ministry touts that losing pounds is good for Chinese investors. China Road and Bridge Co. wins first state project awarded to a Chinese company since new government came to power in Myanmar. Chinese banks work to bolster risk management and compliance abilities as they expand overseas. Japanese financial firms licensed in London forced to consider whether they should relocate elsewhere in the European Union (EU). After massacre in Dhaka, Japan’s Fast Retailing Co. suspends all but critical travel to Bangladesh. South Korea begins investigation of Ford Motor’s Explorer for possible leakage of exhaust fumes inside the vehicle. GM Korea is under the microscope in Korea because of repeated bribery/corruption scandals and selling inferior quality cars. The Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry urges the government to take action to allow for full implementation of its policy packages. Contemporary Korean investment in Vietnam represents a third wave of Korean investment in the country.

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-2016-05-13

Inward FDI into China between January and April rises almost 5 percent over the same period last year. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang touts China’s plan to take measures to encourage greater inward foreign direct investment. China is investigating foreign and domestic drug firms for possible violations of competition laws and regulations. Foreign pharmaceutical firms in China take action to offset profit pressures flowing from government actions. Apple invests $1 billion in Didi Chuxing, following various adverse actions against it in China. Beijing Municipal Court denies Zhujiang Beverage the ability to use the Facebook name on its products. China outward deals in 2016 to date already have topped the figures for 2015. Some Chinese state-owned enterprises are adopting the sovereign immunity defense to escape legal liability in the U.S. SK Group explores cooperation possibilities with Kuwaiti government and businesses officials visiting Seoul. Using investor state dispute measures Hanocal Holdings is suing the Korean government for compensation over excess taxes. Indonesian President urges his Cabinet to do more to improve the ease of doing business and to garner an investment grade rating from Standard & Poor’s. Indonesian Investment Coordinating Board Chairman Franky Sibarani touts his country’s reforms at the HSBC Economic Outlook 2016 conference. Indonesia President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo meets with Chinese State Council Yang Jiechi to discuss investment and trade cooperation. Vietnam calls on foreign firms to contribute more to Vietnam’s economic development.

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