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

Petrovietnam bids for ConocoPhillips’ Vietnam assets

petrovietnam bids for conocophillips%e2%80%99 vietnam assets

State oil and gas group Petrovietnam has made a bid to buy $1.5 billion in Vietnamese oil assets in the East Sea from ConocoPhillips, a senior Petrovietnam official said Monday.

The Hanoi-based group plans to do its utmost to acquire the assets, Nguyen Tien Dung, Petrovietnam’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer, told Reuters on Monday.

In July, Petrovietnam’s CEO had said the company may buy the oil and gas interests in the East Sea from ConocoPhillips to help protect Vietnam’s territorial waters, adding that the US energy firm may sell the assets as it was scaling back its presence, possibly as part of a restructuring.

Vietnam and the Philippines have protested against aggressive action by China in the dispute over the resource-rich area, which covers the world’s busiest sea lanes and also provides rich fishing.

Oct 30 2011

Electrolux announces ‘Your moment to shine’ winners

electrolux announces %e2%80%98your moment to shine%e2%80%99 winners

Electrolux has finally unveiled the winners of its biggest and most exciting promotion ever – “Your Moment To Shine.”

Running from August 5 to October 2, the promotion has given away huge prizes to lucky people.

The first prize winner, Mr. Hoang Van Muoi of Dong Nai Province received a one-carat diamond worth VND244 million.

Second prize winner Mr. Do Quang Hoi of Ho Chi Minh City was awarded a 0.5-carat diamond worth VND48 million.

Third prize winner Mang Luoi Lien Minh Co., Ltd. walked away with one ring and diamond-inlay necklace made of garnet and amethyst worth VND38 million.

The promotion also granted many incentive prizes of a diamond-inlay ruby necklace worth VND29 million to lucky customers in Hanoi, Da Nang, Quy Nhon and Long Xuyen, etc.

 * This is an advertorial.

Oct 30 2011

Windsor Plaza enters Vietnam’s top 10 for second year

windsor plaza enters vietnam%e2%80%99s top 10 for second year

The Windsor Plaza in Ho Chi Minh City has been listed among the top-ten five-star hotels in the country.

The honor came last week with the recognition from Vietnam National Administration of Tourism and Vietnam Tourism Association, which is the second time in a row for the Windsor, the hotel said in a press release.

Earlier this year, the hotel won a “Highly Commended” tag in the “Best Hotel in Vietnam” category at the inaugural Asia Pacific Hotel Awards 2011, held in association with Bloomberg Television.

Oct 30 2011

Mediterranean on the plate

mediterranean on the plate

Patrons of the New World Saigon Hotel can enjoy a taste of Greece, Italy, Spain, France, Lebanon and North Africa next month.

The hotel’s first Mediterranean food and beverage promotion, running from November 9-20 and costing US$46 per person, will feature food indigenous to countries around the Mediterranean Sea.

To give a small sampling, there will be mushroom and asparagus risotto served with parmeggiano regioanno cheese, chicken tajine, which is a Moroccan claypot specialty, Mediterranean lamb shank and grilled fish with rosemary and fennel.

By its nature, the buffet food at the New World will be rich in unsaturated oils, low in cholesterol and high in fiber.

The fresh fruit and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans and seeds that are part of a Mediterranean diet are full of micronutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals that can help protect against cancer and heart disease.

The hotel has teamed up with Classic Fine Foods to give one lucky diner the chance to win a Mediterranean food hamper worth more than VND625,000 and filled with delicacies such as pasta, oils, wine, cooking sauces, olives and cold cuts.

Reservations for the buffet dinner are recommended.

Oct 30 2011

Before sunset

before sunset

The Deck is one of the best restaurants in town for escaping from the noise and motorbikes of Ho Chi Minh City.

It’s a place where patrons are welcome to take their time, and there are few spacious outdoor restaurants in the city with such breathtaking views of the river as this place.

Just 20 minutes from the city center, The Deck transports us to the real Vietnamese countryside.

It is located right on the bank of the Saigon River and opposite a riverbank festooned with water coconuts, making the restaurant an ideal setting for the morning yoga class it hosts.

Upon first sight, The Deck conjures up a picture of two bamboo-lined paths leading to a courtyard shaded by a large tree and decorated with lotus blossoms.

There are two main dining areas, inside and on the terrace over the river. We chose a table on the terrace a little removed from the other diners.

From our vantage point we could see the white clouds reflected in the water and clumps of plant floating along the river. Sometimes a boat laden with goods would pass by, breaking the silence.

The Deck serves contemporary Vietnamese food plus international dishes created by Adrian Scotti, a young English chef who decided to work in Vietnam after “falling in love” with Vietnamese sidewalk food on a previous journey that had taken him from north to south.

Scotti is fascinated by the local tropical food culture, which is based on herbs, spices, fruit and, above all, freshness. His aim is to create fusion dishes such as duck and watermelon salad, and pineapple seafood ceviche.

He uses Asian influences to enhance the flavors he knows from his homeland. When he makes fish sauce, he adds ginger, chili, garlic, mint, coriander and sugar.

Choosing from The Deck’s special weekend menu, we opted for a light Sunday lunch and ordered mango salad, pumpkin soup, pasta with duck and mushroom, and grilled vegetables. The exotic flavor of Vietnamese duck permeated our pasta, which was made richer by the mushrooms and herbs.   

After lunch, we ordered more drinks and sat in comfort until sunset. We were in the right place to relax with a good book, catch the breeze off the water and escape the noise of the city for a spell.

BOX: The Deck

38 Nguyen U Di Street, An Phu, District 2, Ho Chi Minh City

Oct 30 2011

Tough times ahead

tough times ahead

Vietnam is entering an investment cutback phase with difficult decisions to make

Workers repair an electric transformer in the northern Vietnamese province of Son La. Economists say the government needs to continue focusing its capital resource for major projects in the power and transportation sectors.

A new plan to tighten government spending on public works projects next year will require hard decisions after the country has spent years making huge investments to drive growth, economists say.

The government has said that public investment will be focused on urgent works. Other projects will have to find capital from other sources, instead of the state budget, or be postponed.

Nguyen Dinh Cung of the Central Institute for Economic Management said thousands of projects will be affected by the plan.

“If the government wants the plan to succeed, it can’t avoid reviewing all projects and making cuts to many of them,” he said in an interview published in Thoi Bao Kinh Te Saigon magazine last week.

“That will be a really tough decision to make,” he said.

Cung said there will certainly be complaints when ongoing projects are suddenly brought to a halt.

“But we have to ask the question: What will cost more, delaying them or going on with them?” he said.

“It will cost much more to continue building a large port than to halt it, if the port ends up receiving just a few ships a year. Such projects need to be stopped,” said Cung.

According to the World Bank, Vietnam has achieved rapid economic growth and fast poverty reduction over the last 20 years. However, there is a growing concern that the momentum of a growth strategy that is largely based on factor accumulation, or increases in labor and capital, may have run its course.

“Vietnam has one of the highest investments to gross domestic product (GDP) ratios in the world, averaging around 43 percent of GDP during the past five years. But the growth rate has not been commensurate with this high investment rate,” the bank said in a report in May.

The Washington-based lender, which is implementing a program to help the country improve the efficiency of investment through the end of this year, said public investment decisions have been decentralized to ministries and provinces, except for the largest national projects. “However, the decentralized system carried with it many of the deficiencies that existed at the federal level, such as weak project selection system, slow pace of execution, inadequate emphasis on monitoring and oversight,” it said.

Cung said policymakers used to think investment was always good, even if the country had to borrow to invest. “If foreign partners promised to lend more, it was already considered a great success to be excited about, regardless of effectiveness,” he said.

Vietnam can’t continue on this path, otherwise its debt will mount, Cung said, calling for more incentives to attract investment from the private sector.

Economist Vu Tuan Anh of the Vietnam Institute of Economics said one of his studies showed that the Vietnamese government was the largest investor in East and Southeast Asia. The study did not even take into account investments financed by government bond proceeds and foreign loans, he said.

The spending of the Vietnamese government is around 50 percent higher than that in other regional countries, he said. 

Vietnam has made a distinct policy shift this year, moving toward stabilizing the economy instead of emphasizing economic growth. To this end, the government introduced Resolution 11 in February with a series of monetary and fiscal measures designed to restore economic stability.

But members of the National Assembly, the country’s legislative body, said there has been a lack of commitment to implementing the fiscal tightening measures outlined in the resolution.

According to the legislature’s finance and state budget committee, while many key projects have not been given enough capital to be completed and put into use, new projects continue to start. Despite plans to cut spending, Vietnam’s state budget expenditure has already exceeded the plan for the year by 9.7 percent, or VND70.4 trillion (US$3.36 billion), the committee said in a report last week.

Some legislators said the development of infrastructure in Vietnam is still heavily dependent on public investment and wrong decisions in budget cuts could hurt the progress of important works.

Deputy Trinh Ngoc Thach of Hanoi said investment in general has been ineffective. But when fiscal policies were tightened, essential projects to build schools and hospitals were halted, he said.

“Priority should have been given to school projects,” Thach said.

Than Duc Nam, representative of Da Nang, said many transportation projects have been delayed this year without justification, even when many places in the country are still in dire need of new bridges.

For 2012, the transport sector will need some VND14.8 trillion for its projects, but the government plans to provide only VND5.59 trillion. So, the situation will be even tougher, Nam said.

Economist Tran Du Lich said investment cutbacks have not been made in the right places because of the lack of defined criteria.

At first, provincial authorities were reluctant to slash investments, saying all projects were important. Then under growing public pressure, they had to make the cuts, but this time they did so to many projects that were actually effective, Lich said.

Cung from the Central Institute for Economic Management said the government needs to focus its resources only on electricity, school and road projects. It’s also necessary to have objective and scientific assessments in the selection of projects, he said.

“Revenues in the government’s budget have continued to grow over the years, even amid economic difficulties, so it can’t be said that the government doesn’t have money,” Cung said. “The key issue is how to spend that money.”

He said budget revenues rose by VND96 trillion last year and the increase this year is expected to be around VND80 trillion, or nearly 4 percent of the country’s GDP.

Vietnam, therefore, is capable of bringing its budget deficit to 3 percent of GDP, as long as it can tighten spending, Cung said.

The government wants to cut the budget deficit to 4.8 percent of GDP next year, from an estimated 4.9 percent this year. It aims to reduce the ratio to 4.5 percent by 2015.

Oct 30 2011

Input cost rise makes export growth unprofitable

input cost rise makes export growth unprofitable

Exports are growing and their prices are rising, but a faster rise in input costs is canceling export profits.

Exporters worry that the development is expected to continue in 2012, alongside a narrowing of markets for some export products brought about by the continuing global economic recession.

The director of a garment company in Hung Yen Province said that despite his firm’s export growth of 20 percent since early this year, he only brought in profits of 4 percent.

“We were lucky to reap even this profit,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “We conduct outsourcing contracts with big customers from the US and the EU, so increasing imported material prices, as well as high banking interest rates, haven’t affected our business as much as others.”

Other producers are losing money as stiff competition has prevented them from increasing their prices in line with their rising input costs, which have jumped by some 60-70 percent over the past year, he explained.

Duong Ngoc Minh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors, said exporters are facing losses despite the sector’s export value growth of 27 percent in the first nine months of this year.

Some seafood producers have refused orders from customers due to material shortages as farmers are now not interested in expanding production due to higher input costs, he said.

Nearly 150 firms have stopped processing and exporting seafood to pursue other kinds of business since the beginning of this year, according to the association.

The situation is the same in many other sectors such as footwear and woodwork.

General Secretary of the Vietnam Timber and Forest Product Association Nguyen Ton Quyen said the price of wood materials has increased by 15-20 percent since early this year, while many foreign trade partners agreed to increased prices only on contracts signed late last year.

Quyen said many local firms no longer want to sign big contracts, as large orders take at least four months to fulfill, meaning higher risks if input costs continue to rise.

Vietnam has reaped export turnovers of US$78.03 billion since the beginning of this year through October, a year-on-year rise of 34.6 percent, according to the General Statistics Office.

Pham Tat Thang, policy advisor at the Ministry of Industry and Trade’s Trade Research Institute, said Vietnam’s exports of food products are expected to benefit from price hikes amid forecasts of bad weather and poor harvests next year.

“Our export growth in 2012 has been predicted to hit 20 percent at least,” he said.

However, the country’s exporters may face many challenges next year, including a lack of material supplies, Thang said.

“Earlier, China focused on the export of medium quality products with low prices, but now it has shifted to high quality products with reasonable prices. To this end, it has strengthened importing raw materials from other countries, including Vietnam,” he said. “The strong flow of Chinese products into the US, EU and Australia has put great pressure on our exporters.”

Meanwhile, the demand for some Vietnamese products such as garments and woodwork is expected to reduce in the context of the global recession.

Pham Xuan Hong, vice chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association, said the number of orders to the US and EU has decreased, and is expected to fall some 10-15 percent each month in the last quarter. Many small and medium firms have seen fewer orders, and have had to reduce production.

The situation may continue in 2012, as big importers such as the US and EU face continuing economic difficulties and consumers continue to cut spending.

Meanwhile, some industry insiders say Vietnam is facing the risk of a US anti-dumping investigation of the country’s woodwork industry, as well as accusations from the Environmental Investigation Agency of timber smuggling between Vietnam and Laos, which could affect the sector’s exports in the coming time.

Thang said the US and EU will still be major export markets for Vietnam. However, the EU is not expected to recover much next year, so Vietnam should seek more markets.

The country should also pay attention to tapping Japanese markets, which have strong demand for products like construction materials and woodwork products to serve reconstruction efforts after the tsunami, he said.

Oct 29 2011


intel vietnam recognized by us govt for corporate excellence

The US State Department has named Intel in Vietnam one of the 13 finalists worldwide for its prestigious Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE) this year.

Intel in Vietnam was selected for its creation of public-private partnerships that promote education reform and the development of a skilled workforce, the US Embassy in Hanoi said in a press release October 21.

The world’s biggest chip maker has increased opportunities for women in the sciences, and fostered awareness of environmental issues as well as volunteerism.

It also strived to reduce its environmental footprint, and strengthen the technological capabilities of local universities.

The corporation in April this year joined with the US Agency for International Development and Arizona State University to announce the expansion of the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program through 2014 to improve higher education and technological development in Vietnam.

It and 12 other US companies were chosen from 62 nominations submitted by American ambassadors around the world.  

The winners will be announced at an annual ceremony hosted by the Secretary of State later this year.

ACE has been awarded since 1999 to recognize American companies who are leaders in socially responsible activities and contribute to the overall growth and development of the local economy in which they work.

Oct 29 2011

Vietnam’s World Heritage site to get $1mln makeover

vietnams world heritage site to get 1mln makeover

Authorities in the northern province of Thanh Hoa have announced that they will invest nearly VND22 billion (US$1miilion) in improving the tourism infrastructure at a UNESCO-recognized World Heritage citadel.

The project will be carried out until June next year when the Ho Dynasty Citadel officially gets UNESCO recognition, Vietnam News Agency quoted the provincial authorities as saying Monday.

Under the project, the Center for Ho Dynasty Citadel Preservation will cooperate with scientists to continue excavating a rock quarry on the An Ton Mountain which is believed to have been used for building the citadel some 600 years ago. The three-year excavation was launched early this month.

The center will also be in charge of preserving other excavated relics around the citadel, including the three-storied Nam Giao dais where the king conducted prayers for peace and happiness of the country and its citizens.

According to the news agency, Thanh Hoa authorities will join hands with the Directorate for Roads of Vietnam in repairing and upgrading streets to the citadel, which is located in Vinh Loc Town.

More bus routes will be opened as well, it said, adding that the website about the site will also be upgraded and updated with more information.

The Vietnam News Agency report said local authorities will also open more tours to the citadel.

Historical documents show that the citadel, which covers over 769 square meters, was built in 1397 on the order of Ho Quy Ly, the highest-ranking general under the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400). Ly dethroned King Tran Thieu De to establish the Ho Dynasty (1336-1407).$1-mln-planned-for-improving-World-Heritage-sites-tourism.aspx

Oct 29 2011

Ghostly Ho Chi Minh City

ghostly ho chi minh city

The southern hub offers a devilish Halloween chock full o’ tricks and treats aplenty

Many restaurants and hotels in Ho Chi Minh City are rolling up their sleeves to prepare ghostly dishes for Halloween night

October means Halloween season in Western countries. It is a time for howling faces carved into pumpkins and children in spookish gowns haunting every house, knocking on doors, shouting “trick or treat!” The festival is so popular that it has spread to Asian countries including Vietnam.

In Vietnam, locals now expect to see the same things in Vietnam as the smiling children pour into the streets with their ghoulish costumes.

Knowing that, many restaurants and hotels have rolled up their sleeves to prepare ghostly dishes alongside lively and terrifying games for a spooky night not to forget.

Devil’s night

Hotel Majestic Saigon in District 1 will host Halloween Night at M Bar from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on October 30.

Halloween Night customers will be impressed with not only the morbid decorations but also the buffet with all kinds of delicacies, canapés, finger foods and snacks.

In addition, Halloween Night also promises make-up and face painting programs, as well as other games, to turn customers and their children lovely characters or devils, ready to join in the Halloween dance and fashion.

M Bar
8th floor, Hotel Majestic Saigon
1 Dong Khoi Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 829 5517

Atrium Café
Legend Hotel Saigon
2A-4A Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 823 3333

Saigon Saigon Bar
9th floor, Caravelle Hotel
19 Lam Son Square, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 823 4999

America Discotheque
3rd floor, Windsor Plaza Hotel
18 An Duong Vuong Street, District 5
Tel: (08) 3 833 6688

New World Saigon Hotel
76 Le Lai Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 822 8888

Saigon Restaurant Boat  
Bach Dang Quay, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 823 0393

Renaissance Hotel
8-15 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1
Tel: (08) 3 822 0033

M Bar is an ideal venue for guests to relax and chat with friends and enjoy the Filipino band and beautiful views of the Saigon River and the busy city below.

The buffet includes free flowing cocktails, Tiger draught, soft drinks and mineral water.

Tickets cost VND549,000 net per adult and half that for children shorter than 1.4 meters.

Spooktacular Halloween      

The Legend Hotel Saigon is looking to attract the best costumes with its spooktacular Halloween party.

The hotel in District 1 will host the horrifying night at its renowned Atrium Café, where frightful foods and devilish drinks will be in abundance.

Stepping into the Atrium Café, customers will feel that the café is truly haunted as it will be decorated creatively in orange and black, with skeletons, spider webs and carved pumpkins.

Looking above into the towering atrium, spooky witches will be seen flying on their brooms.

The hair-rising menu features dishes that sound terrible and scary but taste delicious.

The menu will include Asian Witch Soup (crab meat and asparagus soup), Party’s Ghost (stewed octopus tentacles), Dracula’s First Bite (garlic prawns), Witch Doctor’s Delight (crispy pork belly with liver sauce), Jack O’ Lantern Meal (snapper cordon bleu), Black Magic Rice (squid ink risotto), Ghost Cow (beef tenderloin with green peppercorn sauce), Vampire’s Favorite Meal (steamed garoupa), Ice-Cream Witches Hats (a selection of ice-cream), Dracula’s Blood (chocolate fountain), and many more evil foods.

The buffet includes fruit punch and free flowing of wines, beer, cocktails, soft drinks, coffee and tea.

Atrium Café will open Halloween Night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Tickets cost VND840,000++ for adults and VND420,000++ for children from four to 12 years old.

Scary desserts

In District 1, the New World Saigon Hotel is confident that its Halloween Night will be the most horrifying in the city.

Sous-chef Nguyen Thanh Huy and his crew will design a Halloween-style buffet with seafood, sushi and sashimi, dim sum, pasta and other grilled specialties tailored especially for the festival.

Terrific desserts such as Witch’s Finger, Spookish Cake and other sweets will be served.

The buffet costs VND840,000 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on October 30.

Night of Blood

Saigon Saigon Bar’s theme for Halloween evening will be “Night of Blood.”

Freaky decorations and shocking photos will adorn the bar, aiming to surprise customers into a fright on October 31.

In addition, bartenders will serve up special cocktails to customers who will drink the terrible concoctions in horror: Vampire’s Kiss, Fluid from Eyeball, or Blood and Sand.

Halloween discotheque

America Discothèque will host a Halloween dance night themed “Hell’s Shadow.”

The discotheque will be decorated to look like hell. Customers can wear their own scary make up and costumes and mix amongst themselves while dancing “hell’s dances,” such as “touch soul” and “the devil’s spirit.”

Oh ghostly river

Saigon Restaurant Boat is among ideal places to enjoy Halloween dinner buffet on the nights of October 29 and 30.

Customers can dine with a horrible Dracula, and enjoy a Halloween buffet including over 40 impressive delicacies served by lovely and funny ghosts. Drinks include Australian wine, Russian Fifth Ocean beer and cocktails.

In addition, customers will be entertained by melodies from the Latin Eyes band, Filipino singers, and Hawaiian and Gypsy dancers.

Ticket costs VND600,000 for adults and VND300,000 for children.

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