Murdoch raid into capitalist Vietnam

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The Independent Online
RUPERT MURDOCH has made a personal visit to Hanoi in an attempt to gain a foothold for his News Corporation empire in the booming Vietnamese economy, which so far has allowed only one foreign-controlled newspaper to be set up.

Mr Murdoch flew into Hanoi in his personal jet to 'have a beer' with Chris Dawe, the Australian-born publisher of Vietnam Investment Review, the only publication in the country that isn't state-owned.

His trip was one of several recent visits by media tycoons to the booming country, which while still technically a communist state is enthusiastically embracing capitalism 20 years after the withdrawal of American forces brought an end to long and devastating war. Mr Murdoch is assumed to have made an offer to buy the review, which is jointly owned by Mr Dawe, a former merchant banker who worked for Citibank, and Sucre Exports, a UK- based commodity broker. But although Mr Dawe talked with the media mogul and admits to 'having some discussions with a few of his flunkies', no offer has been made.

'Rupert came to talk to the Vietnamese about TV and investments,' Mr Dawe told the Independent on Sunday. 'He flew in in his private jet and I had a beer at the bar with him.'

Among others beating a path to Mr Dawe's door have been the Pearson Group, some leading Asian publishers, and Tony O'Reilly, the HJ Heinz boss who also has media interests in Australia and Ireland.

The review, which has offices in Hanoi, Ho Chi Min City, Melbourne and London, has been able to tap into the rapid growth of the Vietnamese market over the last three years.

Murdoch's vote battle, page 5

(Photograph omitted)

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