Southeast Asia

Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations Wins Wong Foundation Grant for Digital Silk Road research project

In May 2022, the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations (Wong MNC Center), an independent, California based non-profit think tank, won a $55,000 grant from the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Foundation to fund a multi-year, multi-country research project on China’s Digital Silk Road Initiative (DSR), part of China’s larger Belt and Road Initiative. This grant will allow Wong MNC Center Executive Director Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard and Wong MNC Center Senior Research Fellow Dr.

MNCs in the News-2021-November

China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) reports China’s utilized inward foreign direct investment (FDI) for the first 10 months of 2021 increased 17.8 percent over the prior year period. China imposes various fines on Taiwan’s Far Eastern Group, pointing out that independence supporters and “‘their connected companies and financiers must be punished.” JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon quip about the longevity of his firm versus the Chinese Communist Party leads to multiple apologies. China’s State Administration of Market Regulation (SAMR) issues a guidance document about anti-monopoly compliance that includes provisions relating to anti-trust practices and risks overseas. China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Pakistan encounters various serious challenges and disappointments. China’s high-speed BRI railway in Laos officially opens with questions about its ability to deliver the economic goods and economic viability. Japanese government taking steps to institute a system for intensified security screening of foreign goods, parts, and service providers. Japan will enhance cooperation with International Labor Organization (ILO) to ensure Japanese companies have better human rights due diligence systems. Korean legislator charges that Apple and Google are not sufficiently complying with law barring dominant app store operators from forcing app developers to use their payment systems. Korea’s SK Hynix may not be able to upgrade memory chip factory in China due to United States opposition to its planned use of ASML chip making equipment.

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Finding Greatness in China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA), part II: Implications for IFDI and OFDI

China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA), detailed in my last blog, appears an obvious magnet for inward foreign direct investment (FDI) and catalyst for outward FDI (OFDI). Beijing’s backing, infrastructure improvements, supportive government science and technology (S&T) policies, the GBA’s surfeit of supply networks, and the GBA’s scale and diversity should attract inward FDI (IFDI). The GBA’s role as a financial center and the relaxation of barriers to outward capital flows promise greater OFDI. Some question the GBA’s ability to realize its lofty aims given myriad barriers to internal flows, the vagueness of government plans, and dearth of true technology leaders.

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Finding Greatness in China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA), part I: Diving into the Bay

Possessing about a decade-long lineage, China’s Greater Bay Area (GBA) formally began in 2017 with the signing of a Framework Agreement between the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The objective is to create a mega economic cluster, involving 11 cities (e.g., Guangzhou, Dongguan, Hong Kong, Macao, and Shenzhen) that will be a leading international financial hub, a major global innovation center, a critical node between China and Southeast Asia, a world-class research center in fields such as biotechnology, and, more recently, a major link to China’s ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Executive Director Jean-Marc F. Blanchard participates in Brazilian Center for International Relations China Analysis Group Webinar on Asian Supply Chains and Decoupling

On May 6, 2020, Dr. Jean-Marc F. Blanchard, Executive Director of the Mr. & Mrs. S.H. Wong Center for the Study of Multinational Corporations (Wong MNC Center) participated in a webinar organized by the China Analysis Group of the Brazilian Center for International Relations (CEBRI). For this timely CEBRI webinar, which focused on the theme of “Asian production chains and technological decoupling,” and included participants representing institutions in Brazil, China, and the United States (US), Dr.

MNCs in the News-2020 May

China’s recently issued Guideline regarding its economy contains numerous favorable, albeit general, offerings for foreign direct investment (FDI). To retaliate against United States (US) exports controls against Huawei, China readies itself to add US companies to an “unreliable entity list” which may subject them to various sanctions. US Chamber of Commerce decries potentially excessive measures by US government to move supply chains away from China. United Kingdom looks to reduce Huawei involvement in its 5G network with Huawei potentially being removed from all telecommunications infrastructure by 2023. Chinese contractors plan to make substantial progress on Indonesia’s Jakarta-Bandung high-speed rail over the balance of 2020. US pressure influences Israel to reject Hong Kong firm’s bid on strategically located, large-scale desalination plant. Japan categorizes firms into three groups as part of its effort to clarify what review processes apply to FDI pursuant to its Foreign Exchange and Foreign Trade Act. New Japanese law requires technology companies operating e-commerce websites and apps to submit annual reports, notifications of contract changes, and establish complaint processes. In quest for supply chain resiliency, Japan will provide subsides to encourage Japanese firms to return to Japan or move to Southeast Asia. Realized inward FDI into Korea in the first quarter 2020 plunges over similar period last year due to shorter worker hours, higher minimum wages, and other factors. South Korean parliament passes legislation that likely forces content providers to share network costs with local internet service providers. US support for the Economic Prosperity Network raises fears among Korean companies they will be pushed to shift FDI to the US. Korean firm to make huge investment in UAE pipeline as part of its consortium’s winning bid.

MNCs in the News-2020-04-10

United States (US) financial giant JPMorgan strikes terms for taking 100 percent stake in its Shanghai mutual fund joint venture (JV). US trade bodies write to US Department of Commerce head to warn about adverse effects of contemplated changes to US export controls of semiconductors and semiconductor equipment to China, stressing for the first time the importance of chips in healthcare equipment. Reported attempted Board coup at United Kingdom (UK) graphic chipmaker Imagination Technologies blocked by UK government. China rejects reported charge that it was donating masks to France on the condition Huawei could participate in France’s 5G network. Japan prepares massive supplemental budget to facilitate Japanese firms leaving China for Japan or Southeast Asia. Indonesia’s partial lockdown in Jakarta drives Japanese firms to temporary shutter their factories there. Korean regulatory authorities will conduct a comprehensive review of Germany’s Delivery Hero’s acquisition of Woowa Brothers, the operator of food delivery app Baemin. India’s Mahindra & Mahindra says it will not inject fresh funding into SsangYong Motor.

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-2020-02-14

JPMorgan (China) intends to assume full ownership of all its mainland China operations by 2021 to take advantage of China’s financial sector opening. Chinese regulators approve United States (US) credit card firm Mastercard Inc.’s application to establish a bankcard clearing house joint venture. Peter Navarro urges the US to reduce its reliance on Chinese pharmaceutical and medical supplies. New US regulations expanding the authority of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) with respect to the review of foreign direct investment (FDI) have gone into effect, with notable implications for Chinese FDI in the US. Coronavirus impact on supply chains and production in China accelerates move already occurring because of US-China trade war and rising labor costs in China. Japan is excluded from list of countries exempted from new CFIUS review ambit, but this may change. Merger of Korean shipbuilding giants potentially affected by Japanese filing of World Trade Organization petition, charging illegal subsidies. Korea’s SK Engineering & Construction wins mega-deal to build a beltway in Kazakhstan.

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Belt and Road Forum II, Part III-Quality Quashes Quantity? Quackery!

Many observers viewed the 2nd Belt and Road Forum (BRF) as a time for China to make amends, at least verbally, for the shortcomings of its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which has been associated with inter alia corruption, excessive debt burdens, environmental damage, opacity, and the displacement of local labor.

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