Vietnam visa - vietnam visa online - vietnam visa fee
Vietnam visa - vietnam visa online - vietnam visa fee
Jul 31 2011

Honda Vietnam to build new motorbike plant

honda vietnam to build new motorbike plant

Honda Vietnam has announced plans to build a third motorcycle production plant and expand its annual production capacity by 500,000 units to supply the growing motorcycle market in the country.

The new plant, with an expected investment of US$120 million, is scheduled to begin operations in the second half of 2012 in the northern province of Ha Nam, around 40 kilometers south of Hanoi, the company said in a statement.

The joint venture began motorcycle production in 1997. The addition of the third plant will increase its production capacity to 2.5 million units, from 2 million now.

The motorcycle market in Vietnam has been steadily growing and the market size reached 2.69 million units in 2010, up 20 percent from 2009. It is the world’s fourth largest motorcycle market behind China, India and Indonesia, Honda Vietnam said.

The company said its market share in Vietnam reached 64 percent in 2010.

Jul 31 2011

Business confidence dips further among EU firms in Vietnam

business confidence dips further among eu firms in vietnam

Business confidence and outlook among European businesses in Vietnam has continued to fall this quarter, with high inflation remaining a major concern, a new survey found.

The European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham) said its latest quarterly Business Climate Index dropped seven points further to 63, after losing nine points three months ago.

EuroCham members that participated in the survey continued to be more cautious about their business outlook and somber in assessing their current situation, EuroCham said last week.

The number of businesses having a negative view on their current situation rose slightly from 12 to 16 percent. There was also a 10 percent drop in respondents assessing their current business situation as “good” or “excellent”, to 46 percent, much lower than the 72 percent recorded in the first quarter.

EuroCham said surveyed businesses have shown to be more cautious than in previous surveys, with most companies planning to keep their level of investment unchanged.

In terms of expected revenue, European businesses remained quite positive as 54 percent expected an increase in revenue in the medium term.

The survey found 56 percent of companies expect inflation to have a significant impact on their business while 6 percent stated that inflation was actually threatening their business in the country.

Jul 31 2011

Mekong Delta getaway launches summer special

mekong delta getaway launches summer special

The four-star Victoria Chau Doc Hotel is offering a summer promotion until September 30.

This package includes two nights in a Superior room (complimentary upgrade to Deluxe room upon availability), daily buffet breakfast for two persons, a boat tour (two hours) to Cham village, floating fish farm houses and a small floating market, a 45-minute body massage at the Victoria Spa or 30 minutes pre-dinner cocktail (for a group booking of 15 customer and above). The package (twin sharing) price is USD113++ per person.

This rate is not to be used with any other promotions or specials offered and is applicable to new bookings only.

The four star Victoria Chau Doc hotel is located on the bank of the Bassac River in Chau Doc, a town near the Cambodian border in the Mekong Delta’s An Giang province.

The location offers tourist insights into the bustling life along the Mekong river not far from Cambodia. This region is famous for its rich culture and festivals by Vietnamese, Khmer and Cham communities along the river.

For more information please email

Jul 31 2011

Emeraude on Halong Bay installs new safety system

emeraude on halong bay installs new safety system

The Emeraude Classic Cruises has recently installed a finger print clock system on it’s Halong Bay tour boats to ensure that that its crew make appointed safety checks throughout the night.

In February of this year, a tourist boat sank in Halong bay, drowning 12 passengers.

According to a press release from Emeraude, every hour, the Emeraude crew member on watch will leave his fingerprint on screen systems installed in the wheelhouse, in the engine room, the crew quarters and the restaurant. This system identifies the crew member, and the time of his visit.

“This system adds a whole new level of security to a cruise on Halong Bay. The system is not required by regulations or the recent decree, but we’re doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our passengers,” said Captain Jacques Le Fur, who has steered the Emeraude among the karsts of Halong Bay for more than five years.

Jul 31 2011

Vietnam’s AAA Assurance picks IBM for IT upgrade

vietnam%e2%80%99s aaa assurance picks ibm for it upgrade

Local insurance firm AAA Assurance announced Wednesday it has chosen IBM Vietnam as a key partner to provide information technology services for its business expansion plan.

Under a collaboration framework agreement signed by the two companies, IBM will provide consultation, planning, training and updates on the insurance industry’s latest IT solutions to support AAA over the next five years.

AAA said its strategy in the coming years is to promote modern sales channels such as e-commerce, telesales and to develop the banking-insurance channel. The company is targeting an annual growth of 20-25 percent in the next five years.

“We are committed to making strategic investments in IT infrastructure development to successfully implement business plans, increase service quality and optimize clients’ satisfaction. With global expertise and profound knowledge of the local market, IBM is our primary IT partner to realize our IT plan to 2015,” said AAA Assurance General Director, Do Thi Kim Lien.

Thieu Phuong Nam, IBM Vietnam Deputy General Manager, said the collaboration between IBM and AAA would allow IBM experts to support AAA in building and implementing its IT development process and its business plans.

AAA estimates that the total investment for completing and modernizing its IT infrastructure will be US$2.5 million.

Jul 31 2011

Vietnam’s economic growth moderates amid inflation battle: ADB

vietnam%e2%80%99s economic growth moderates amid inflation battle adb

Vietnam’s growth is expected to slow to 6.1 percent this year as authorities tighten monetary policies and cut government expenditures to bring inflation under control, the Asian Development Bank said Thursday.

The economy expanded 5.7 percent in the second quarter of 2011, compared to 5.4 percent in the first quarter, supported by increased industrial and construction output. However, growth has moderated from last year’s 6.8 percent as monetary and fiscal policies were tightened to cool the economy, according to the July edition of ADB’s Asia Economic Monitor report.

The Manila-based bank noted that while headline inflation in the region ranges from about 3 percent to 6 percent on average, Vietnam is one of the “significant exceptions” with inflation reaching 20 percent by the end of June.

ADB said Vietnam’s fiscal deficit of 8 percent of GDP was the highest in the region last year, but the government is planning to reduce it to 5.4 percent in 2011 by cutting expenditures.

Vietnam’s low foreign currency reserves is also causing some concern, the bank said. Most regional economies retain ample foreign reserves to cover several months of imports, but Vietnam’s reserves can only cover 1.6 months of imports.

After a strong rebound in 2010, economic growth in emerging East Asia will moderate this year, according to the report. It forecasts aggregate GDP growth for emerging East Asia economies at 7.9 percent in 2011 and 7.7 percent in 2012. Last year the growth reached 9.3 percent.

The bank, however, cautioned that there is a risk of rising inflation leading to wage-price spirals that could derail the region’s growth.

“Growth is easing in most of emerging East Asia as authorities wind down fiscal stimulus measures and tighten monetary policies to counter rising inflation,” said Iwan Azis, head of ADB’s Office of Regional Economic Integration that prepared the report. “This is actually a good thing so stronger economies like the People’s Republic of China don’t overheat.”

The Asia Economic Monitor is a semiannual report, covering the economies of the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other markets including China, Hong Kong and Korea.

Jul 31 2011

Banks have much room for growth in Vietnam: Nielsen

banks have much room for growth in vietnam nielsen

Banks in Vietnam have ample opportunity for growth as the number of local consumers using banks is still relatively low, according to a new Nielsen report.

Consumers are aware of basic banking services but the number of people actually using them is limited, the new edition of the Nielsen Vietnam Personal Finance Monitor said. Just 31 percent use an ATM/debit card, while credit card services are used by just 1 percent of Vietnamese consumers.

More than one-third of respondents said they did not see a need for credit cards, while 19 percent were not knowledgeable about how they work, the report added.

Despite the fairly cloudy economic environment, Vietnamese continue to try to save money, whether for their own security, their children’s education or for the future, Nielsen said. The company, however, pointed out that only 12 percent use banks for deposit accounts.

Effective marketing and advertising can help overcome perceptions such as bank procedures are lengthy and the financial information required was onerous to obtain, Nielsen said. “Those banks that focus on telling consumers how they are different from others, or dispel some of the myths about doing business with them will likely break through.”

The report also said another area of growth potential is the rural market. “More than two-thirds of Vietnamese live outside of major cities, and while the income levels are currently well below those of urban denizens, the growth levels are actually very similar,” it said.

Jul 31 2011

Vietnam banks offer higher dollar rates than allowed

vietnam banks offer higher dollar rates than allowed

Several banks have broken an interest rate cap on dollar deposits in an attempt to attract funds to meet the increasing credit demand.

In June, the State Bank of Vietnam lowered the rate cap on dollar deposits from 3 to 2 percent, and cut the limit for institutions to half a percent.

Bankers told Thanh Nien the new cap has made it difficult for them to attract clients. As a result, some banks breached the limit and offered higher rates for deposits of more than US$5,000.

A client in Ho Chi Minh who requested to be identified only as Nam said a bank even accepted to pay 5 percent per year on his dollar deposit.

According to commercial banks, the demand for dollar loans is rising fast as banks offer them at around 7-8 percent, much lower compared to the 19-22 percent on dong loans.

Dollar liquidity will be strained in the next few months if the demand remains high, said the Vietnam Bank Association. Exchange rates will be affected at the end of the year because supply is unlikely to increase, the association said.

Economist Le Tham Duong of the Ho Chi Minh City Banking University said due to loose lending regulations, local companies have borrowed dollars and converted them into dong. Then they deposit the funds to profit from large gap of up to 15 percentage points between dong and dollar interest rates.

“That’s why dollar credit has expanded at a fast pace, causing an imbalance between supply and demand,” Duong said.

Dollar loans rose 2.3 percent from May to June while dong credit fell 5.88 percent during the same period.

Duong said the central bank should consider raising foreign reserve requirements at banks to 10 percent from 7 percent. Such a move would force banks to raise their dollar interest rates, narrowing the gap between interest rates of the two currencies, he said.

Jul 30 2011

Island in the sun

island in the sun

Chong Beach, one of the white-sand, pristine beaches on Cu Lao Cham Island

Blue. A never-ending expanse of intense blue as the sky and the sea met and merged into each other.

For about 15 kilometers – that we covered in 20 minutes by a speed boat from the Cua Dai Quay – this immense blue surrounded us, shining brilliantly under the bright sun. The wind was blowing hard, but I barely noticed it, lost in the magnificence of my surroundings.

Once we reached Cu Lao Cham, our guide took us to Lang Beach, one of the three main beaches on Hon Lao, the biggest islet on the island. And there was more than the beach itself to enjoy there. At a small, local museum, we were able to learn a bit about the history and life on this island, and see many marine creatures exhibited there.

Cu Lao Cham covers an area of just over 15 square kilometers and is comprised of seven islets. With 1,549 hectares of natural forest and 6,716 hectares of open water, the island has a diverse ecosystem that hosts many kinds of plants and fish. Hon Lao Islet is also the most populated place on this island. Not surprisingly, locals mainly earn their living from fishing.

Leaving the museum, we took a stroll along a winding road to visit Au Thuyen, a storm shelter for boats, and then the Hai Tang Pagoda. Situated near a small green rice field, the church had an atmosphere that was very relaxing. A cup of special tea made with medicinal leaves found on the island added to the sense of well-being. The tea is very good for our digestive system, we were told.

Next, we followed our guide to a lively, bustling local market where we bought a lot of seafood. One of the most heartening parts of the visit here was the awareness of environmental protection and pollution among the locals here. All the roads were kept clean and the use of plastic bags avoided. The dried products sold were wrapped in paper and the fresh produce in straw or jute sacks.

Leaving this lovely islet, we boarded the speed boat again to get to another beach. Our guide informed us that the destination was Xep Beach and that we were to go snorkeling. He said Cu Lao Cham had some wonderful sites for snorkeling and exploring the coral reefs, including Xep Beach and the islets of Tai, Dai and Mo.


The best time to visit Cu Lao Cham is between March and September. Visitors can explore the island on their own by taking a speed boat or normal tourist boat that departs from Cua Dai Quay at 8 a.m. and returns at 2 p.m. everyday.

Or you can book a tour at Hoi An Travel, 10 Tran Hung Dao Street, Hoi An Town, tel: (0510) 3 910 444, Email:

Hai Tang Pagoda, built in 1753 on the western hillside of Hon Lao, is among the most visited sites in Cu Lao Cham

The water was so clear I could imagine that snorkeling would be a breeze here. I was right. For those who can’t dive and have no snorkeling experience like me, our guide suggested that we wear our life-jackets and snorkel not too far away. The underwater world spread out like a vast, fancy aquarium. Everything looked sharp and clear. The colorful coral reefs undulated besides hundreds of beautiful fish and snails. I guessed this must beat an Imax movie experience.

I learnt that Cu Lao Cham was recently voted by many experts as a new paradise for snorkeling in Vietnam, adding to already well-known hot spots like Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and Con Dao. The island has also been recognized as a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. 

After exploring the underwater world for more than an hour, we felt rather tired. Our helpful guide promised a relaxing time ahead. He said we were going to Chong Beach, which is one of the most beautiful beaches in Cu Lao Cham, to have some lunch and relax.

It was close to noon when we landed on the beach and the sun was blazing down on the white sands. Several hammocks were slung under the shade of some coconut trees and we lay down in them while waiting for our lunch. It was the best possible relaxation, being lulled by the sea breeze and the clear waters.

It was obviously a great place to go swimming and sunbathing, but we were happy where we were. The waiting had sharpened our hunger a bit, so the fabulous lunch with all types of seafood dishes prepared at a small restaurant was just what the doctor ordered.

I could not recall enjoying a meal more. After filling our stomachs, we relaxed for a bit longer and returned to the mainland at 2 p.m. It was difficult to imagine we had been away only for a few hours. The trip was an experience that would entice us into repeating it as often as we could.

Jul 30 2011

Retailers feel the pinch

retailers feel the pinch

Inflation-weary customers ignore discount sales and other promotions

Clothes on sale are displayed at a garment shop in Hanoi. Inflation has forced many consumers to tighten their belts and reduce spending on non-essential items.

Retailers nationwide have launched many promotions offering huge discounts for several months now, but consumers are not responding as usual.

The latest inflation-influenced belt tightening is more serious than on previous occasions, and some enterprises are even laying off workers as sales plunge.

The BigC Supermarket chain has run its biggest promotional campaign since June, offering discounts of up to 50 percent on more than 4,000 items. Meanwhile, the Vietnam National Garment and Textile Group has reduced retail prices of some 300 products by 10-50 percent.

Small traders have followed suit.

In the capital city, along the shopping streets of Chua Boc, Tay Son, Pham Ngoc Thach and Cau Giay, dozens of stores selling consumer goods such as garments, electronic products and footwear have announced discounts of 20-70 percent.

Nguyen Thi Huyen, a saleswoman at a clothes shop on De La Thanh Street, said: “Our sales have never been as bad as now. We have not sold any garments over the past two days despite the discounts.”

Huyen’s shop is selling garments for middle-aged people, priced at VND200,000-500,000 (US$9.8-24.4), at 20-50 percent markdowns.

Because business has been stagnant, the shop’s owner had to sack two other saleswomen, Huyen said as she brushed the garments.

“Years ago, customers would double whenever we had a sale,” said Tran Thu Trang, the owner of a footwear shop on Dinh Cong Street. “But nobody seems interested in buying now, although we’ve announced discounts of up to 70 percent.”

Trang said she wants to sell out all her stock and close the shop, but was finding even that was not easy.

According to a recent survey by global market research firm Nielson, 64 percent of Vietnamese consumers indicated now was not the time to buy the things they want and need, given the high costs of goods and the state of their personal finances.

Eighty-eight percent of the respondents said they have changed their spending patterns over the last year to save on household expenses. Up to 70 percent said they cut spending on new clothes.

Inflation accelerated for the 11th straight month in July as consumer prices rose 22.16 percent from a year earlier, compared with June’s 20.82 percent growth, according to the General Statistics Office.

Food, transport and construction material prices have stoked the increase in consumer prices growth.

Economist Le Tham Duong of the Ho Chi Minh City Banking University said it would be difficult to meet the target of keeping inflation at 15-17 percent this year as prices rose in the world market and imports increased in the last months of the year.

In addition, soaring gold prices would push up prices of other products and services, increasing pressures on inflation, he said.

Duong said the government’s anti-inflation measures should be carried out more actively and the fight against gold speculation strengthened.

For its part, the government has said it will take drastic measures to meet the target of reducing the budget deficit to below 5 percent of gross domestic product, and continue to tighten its monetary policy.

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