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"¢ An alliance of major shippers, The New World Alliance, will introduce a direct Vietnam-to-North Europe service for the first time next month, the website channelnewsasia.com said. This will add to other direct Vietnam-to-North Europe services offered by its competitors. The alliance, which includes APL, Hyundai Merchant Marine, and Mitsui OSK Lines, says the first vessel in the service is expected to call at Cai Mep in South Vietnam in mid-January. The service will link Vietnam with the European ports of Rotterdam, Hamburg, and Le Havre, and also with Japanese and Chinese ports.

"¢ Marubeni Corp. wants to join the Vietnam National Textile & Garment Group, known as Vinatex, to build garment and textile factories in Vietnam, according to Vinatex. Marubeni is seeking opportunities to make textile and garment products in Vietnam. The Japanese trading company "started moving its investment" gradually to Vietnam from neighboring China this year, Vinatex said in a statement on its website, quoting Katsuhisa Yabe, head of Marubeni's textile department. Marubeni currently makes about 90 percent of its garment products in China, Yabe said in the statement. No reason has been given for the move.

"¢ Taiwanese-owned Wintek Corporation has signed a contract to build a US$150 million factory producing touch screens for iPhone and iPad in the northern province of Bac Giang. The project, expected to go into operation next year, will employ about 30,000 workers.

"¢ A JGC Corp. led group that includes Chiyoda Corp. and Technip SA won exclusive negotiating rights for a contract to build a refinery in Vietnam, the Nikkei newspaper reported without saying where it got the information. The project is expected to cost more than $8 billion, including the construction of a harbor and other facilities, according to the report. The refinery will cost more than $5 billion, the Nikkei said.

"¢ Citibank Vietnam has announced the launch of the Citibank PremierMiles Credit Card, the first travel credit card in Vietnam. PremierMiles card holders will earn one Premier Mile for every VND20,000 they spend or withdraw in cash using the card, 1,000 mileage points for each extension to the card and 5,000 points if they spend more than VND500 million a year using the card. Premier Miles can be redeemed for free flight awards on most airlines flying out of Vietnam, including Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways (and Asia Miles partner airlines), Thai Airways and Delta Airlines.

"¢ Crude oil output at Vietsovpetro, a joint venture between Vietnam Oil & Gas Group and Russia's OAO Zarubezhneft, fell 1.5 percent to 6.4 million metric tons in 2010, according to company figures posted on the Vietnamese government's website. Earlier, on December 31, 2009, Vietsovpetro, which operates the Southeast Asian nation's biggest oil field, Bach Ho, has forecasted that 2010 production would drop 4.6 percent. Crude from new fields offset declining output at Bach Ho, Vietsovpetro said in an e-mailed statement. The company pumped 6.5 million tons in 2009.

"¢ Coca-Cola Beverages Vietnam (CCBV) has granted scholarships to six students at the Ho Chi Minh City National University. Four other scholarships will be rewarded to students at the Hanoi Foreign Trade University soon. Brian Horn, CCBV Human Resouces Manager, said his company would invest in the benefiting students long-term development. "The students will have the opportunity to work in CCBV during summer vacations, which would help familiarize them with the dynamic working environment of an international corporation," he said.

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