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* Southeast Asia's largest hydroelectric power station has begun operating to help ease an electricity shortage in fast-growing Vietnam, an official said on Monday. The first of six turbines at the Son La station was connected to the national power grid on Friday, said Hoang Trong Nam, director of the plant's management board. He said the US$2 billion plant with a capacity of 2,400 megawatts is expected to be fully operational in 2012, three years ahead of a target set by the National Assembly.

* The consumer electronics market in Vietnam is projected to reach US$6.8 billion by 2014, RNCOS said in a research report on Wednesday. Consumer electronics is one of the major contributors to the high retail sales in Vietnam, the research firm said.

* South Korea and Vietnam agreed to jointly develop rare earths in Vietnam, South Korea's Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in an e-mailed statement on Tuesday. Separately, a South Korean company may build a coal-fired power plant and Dongyang Gangchul Co. may build a 400 billion won (US$347 million) aluminum smelter with a Vietnamese company, according to the statement.

* Fullerton Financial Holdings Pte. Ltd., a unit of Singapore sovereign fund Temasek Holdings Pte., has bought a 15 percent stake in Mekong Development Bank, and plans to raise its holding to 20 percent next year, the Vietnamese bank said in an e-mailed statement on Monday.

* VinaCapital Investment Management Ltd., a fund management firm, has won government approval for a US$4 billion tourism and resort complex in the central province of Quang Nam. VinaCapital, which makes the investment together with an unidentified foreign investor, will detail the project early next year.

* Inflation slowed in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi with the December consumer price index rising 1.61 percent and 1.83 percent, respectively, from November. Year-on-year, the December index climbed 9.58 percent in HCMC and 9.56 percent in Hanoi, according to the statistics offices in the two cities.

* Vinacafe Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam's largest coffee exporter, opened a bonded warehouse on Monday in the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak, the Vietnam Economic Times reported. The warehouse can store up to 40 percent of the country's annual coffee export volume.

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