Weak Motorcycle Market? Not in Vietnam

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The weak economy apparently hasn’t dampened the buying power of the Vietnamese, at least not when it comes to their purchases of a popular mode of travel there – motorcycles. Honda announced last week that surging demand in the southeast Asian nation is leading the manufacturer to increase production by half a million units per year. That will bump up the overall Vietnamese production capacity to 2 million bikes annually.

Through a joint venture, Honda has a motorcycle plant in Vietnam and the bump in production will come from a $70 million investment in that facility. The capacity upgrade is expected to come online sometime in late 2011. About 2.26 million bikes were sold in Vietnam last year, making it the fourth largest motorcycle market in the world behind China, Indonesia and India. It is also one of the most popular nations for automatic transmission bikes, with about three quarters of a million of those sold in 2009. Honda holds 63 percent of the Vietnamese motorcycle market share and its sales have increased every year since the joint venture’s 1996 establishment.

For some perspective on the motorcycle market’s growth in Vietnam, consider that Honda’s global sales actually fell slightly last year. In North America, they fell by nearly half.

New Call of Duty to Be Set in Vietnam

The official announcement of a Vietnam Call of Duty game was a long awaited confirmation of a rumor which had been simmering for months prior.

It was officially announced today that Call of Duty: Vietnam will be the next installment in the Call of Duty series, according to VentureBeat.com.  Call of Duty Vietnam, which will be possibly the biggest name among historic military tactical series to set a game in Vietnam, is among only a small group of such games set in Vietnam.

Call of Duty: Vietnam which is expected to be released on PC and all major consoles—including the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii—may help to boost the popularity of historic tactical games focused within the context of the Vietnam War, according to one view among industry analysts.  Seven years ago, games with this particular historic focus were all but nonexistent.  In 2004, however, the release of Shellshock: ‘Nam ’67 from Eidos Interactive for the original Xbox console marked the first video game console release of a Vietnam game, and was was followed shortly thereafter by the release of Conflict: Vietnam for the PlayStation 2.

One reason which can be easily cited as to why it took until now for a franchise with the popularity of the Call of Duty series to release an entry set in Vietnam or for why it took until 2004 for any Vietnam game to reach home consoles is the political controversy surrounding the war effort.  While it had been less of a challenge to portray the war in movies in the past without creating too much of a climate for controversy, it was more of a challenge to do the same for a tactical game in which the player must assume an active role in a war effort toward which many were strongly politically opposed.  That political tension, however, appears now as though it is becoming less of a factor in the context of historical tactical games.

Bringing Ancient Vietnamese Art to America

After twenty years of pushing, Nancy Tingley, is finally entitled to celebrate. It all began in 1988, when the then curator of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco first travelled to Vietnam to borrow some of the country’s ancient art for an exhibition in America. It was a rather farfetched goal, considering the United States had a very general idea about Vietnam: America fought the country in a war.

Eventually, that pungent opinion settled down enough for the Asia Society Museum to announce the new exhibition:”Arts of Ancient Vietnam: From River Plain to Open Sea,” a gallery of ancient artifacts, preserved through the millennia.

Four-Hundred pound ritual drums, pounded from bronze by Dong Son artists exemplify the creative vitality of a country, which basically had it’s doors held open for visitors. The 2,000-mile coastline, in combination with a narrow interior – sometimes less than 40 miles across – has made Vietnam quite vulnerable throughout history.

Chinese influence, reflected by the metalwork, shifts with the rise of Fu Nan in the Mekong Delta. They brought a blend of Buddhist and Hindu teachings, which manifests in portrayals of Vishnu, Ganesha and Shiva, three highly adored hindu gods.


Ms. Tingley has brought the far corner of Southeast Asia to America, and the exhibition is an important step in the destruction of country boundaries, and the desegregation of culture in the world.