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Saigon Announces Plan for Waterway Development

Well, Saigon is really trying to cover all the bases for its 2020 rebirth. Another massive project has been proposed to redevelop Saigon’s 1,000km of rivers and canals at a cost of more than $500 million. The city hopes that this will boost tourism, and that its waterways will become Saigon’s main attraction.

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Vietnam to Invest $287 million in a Taller, Stronger Population

It seems like everyone wants to be a little bit taller (and a baller) these days. A recent report revealed that Vietnam’s neighbors are not only taller, but enjoy a faster growth speed amongst their populations. To win the ‘war on short’, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has announced a $287 million plan to raise Vietnam’s average height by 4cm.

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Big Changes for Online Advertising in Vietnam

For Google staff, today should prove to be slightly more relaxing following a week of big announcements. For many of them, the week started with a cup of coffee at the annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, where Google’s heavy hitters spent dozens of hours announcing new products and improvements. These included a master plan to beat Spotify with Google Play Music, revolutionary updates for Google+ in order to compete with Facebook and Twitter (they were able to convince me) and new features for Google Maps and Gmail. Back in Asia, the Google staff in Saigon had something important to present as well. After a long wait, Google Display Networks service has finally arrived in Vietnam, something many digital marketers have had high on their wish lists.

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City Center Overhaul to be "Harmonious"

For those skeptical about the recently announced changes to the city center, Nguyen Trong Hoa - Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Institute of Development Studies and one of the plan’s authors – explains that unlike previously overambitious plans, the new one is measured and harmonious. Take this with a grain of salt, of course, but at least the city is aware of why previous plans failed and are taking a more cautious approach this time around.

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Airport for Mui Ne in the Works

Saigon might not be the only one who’s getting a shiny new airport - developers have submitted plans to the Phan Thiet central government to construct a $270 million regional airport. Russians, rejoice!

The airport, scheduled to open in 2017, will span around 500 hectares and will be located in Thien Nghiep – a coastal area near Mui Ne Beach. According to Vietnam Airlines Corporation (VNA), the airport is part of the grander picture of connectivity between Saigon and Nha Trang:

“The development of Phan Thiet airport should be considered in the context that there are also many other transport methods to the area, including road, sea, railway, and high-speed railway between Saigon and Nha trang.”  

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How Saigon Plans to Avoid the 'Car Age'

“A developed city is not one in which the poor get around by car but one in which the rich get around by public transit” - Enrique Peñalosa, former mayor of Bogotá.

It seems like every time I’m stalled in traffic, cars and buses are to blame. Nimble motorbikes can easily navigate hectic traffic patterns (and drive on sidewalks) and buses get a pass since they’re the city’s only form of public transportation (and their numbers are fairly static). In a city designed without cars in mind, their increasing numbers are becoming a serious obstacle for the flow of traffic. But, while some curse cars, others are buying them at a record rate – the number of new cars sold in the first quarter of this year was higher than the total sold in 2012. Can Saigon complete its public transportation network fast enough to avoid “the age of the car”?

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Vietnam Delays Introduction of 4G Service

Even as Vietnam becomes increasing connected by mobile devices, don’t expect 4G service any time soon. According to Vietnam News, the government wants to maximize the existing investments made by telecom companies.

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Asia's Social Media Boom

A macro-economic expert could view social media as a good economic development indicator. Social media fever is fading a bit in the US after the mini-bubble, encouraged by the highly criticized purchase of Involver by Oracle, and the unfortunately premature acquisition - according to WWP's CEO - of SalesForce by Buddy Media. But, on the other side of the Pacific, social media is booming in a way few could have predicted.

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Massive Changes Approved for Saigon's City Center

Sometimes wishes do come true. The city government has approved a plan that will completely redefine the layout and borders of Saigon's city center. The highlight of the plan will see the conversion of some District 1 streets into pedestrian-only areas.

Under the new plan, the existing downtown area, covering Districts 1 and 3, will be expanded to five quarters, including an area along the Saigon River in District 4 and Binh Thanh District, the ports along Nguyen Tat Thanh Street and the Tau Hu-Ben Nghe canals. The new downtown ‘core’ will cover 930 hectares including wards where many streets including: Le Loi, Nguyen Hue, Dong Khoi, the roundabout in front of Ben Thanh Market, and part of Huynh Thuc Khang Street will be converted to pedestrian-only areas.

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As Thu Thiem Stalls, City Rushes to Lure Investors

Development of Thu Thiem was supposed to be the crown jewel of Saigon’s urban expansion. Since 1996, plans have been in place to turn this green swath of land, directly across from District 1, into the city’s new center. Although the city has cleared most of the land, a faltering economy, lack of infrastructure and high leasing fees have stalled the project.

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"Fucking Ugly" Websites Plague Vietnam

Design is subjective; ‘good’ design changes by region, city and individual. Design elements that may seem antiquated to one, may be fresh or reinvented by another so we try not to judge - except when it comes to websites that are “fucking ugly.” These were the words Techinasia editor, Anh Minh Do, used to appropriately describe the state of Vietnamese website design.

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