ASIA'S influence on world affairs has forced newspapers worldwide to re-assess their coverage of Asian issues. In line with that trend, the South China Morning Post has continued to expand its team of regional correspondents. Perhaps the jewel in the crown for the foreign desk has been the opening of a fully-fledged bureau in Vietnam, which is arguably the country with more growth potential than any other in the region. Staffed by Greg Torode, the Hanoi bureau provides everything from political analysis to business exclusives that readers in Hong Kong with business ventures in Indochina have come to rely on. Expectations are that, with the growth of Vietnam, a knock-on effect will bump the still-developing Cambodia and Laos out of the political wilderness. Foreign Editor Peter Kammerer is quick to stress that Indochina is a key area for the Post and one that will involve an increasingly stepped-up coverage. 'Indochina is a huge story we will be doing all we can to be first with every time,' he said. 'Our base in Hanoi places us to cover this dynamic region and beat the many other news organisation still attempting to open bureaus in Vietnam.' It is understood that The Australian, The New York Times and Financial Times are just a few desperately trying to open offices in Hanoi. With the opening of an office in Singapore this year, the next logical step for the Post's foreign coverage is to upgrade its reporting capability in Southeast Asia. Logical because Hong Kong acts as a gateway for business in that region, as well as the major conduit for mainland China. The territory plays a vital role providing investment capital for a huge range of projects in the region. It also gives its manufacturers and traders a rapidly expanding market on their own doorstep. To widen and deepen its reporting of the booming economies in Southeast Asia, the group is establishing a stronger presence in Singapore. The Post has recently begun regular coverage from Indonesia - a political and economical powerhouse. Correspondent Joe Leahy is one of a handful of foreign journalists filing regular reports from Jakarta. 'Our move into Indonesia means we now have coverage from every major Asian capital,' Kammerer said. Tokyo correspondent Charles Smith is monitoring the ups and downs of Japan's volatile market. He is well-placed to provide coverage of the special stories that emanate from that country. In India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, the Post's experienced team of correspondents brings coverage of the sub-continent and its neighbours for the many people in Hong Kong who hail from that region. On top of this, Asian coverage - which, incidentally, is unrivalled by any mainstream newspaper in the world - the group employs a host of correspondents in Washington, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Vancouver. 'With such a large number of people to draw on and the new EdPage technology, the flexibility available to the foreign desk staff is vastly improved,' Kammerer said. 'We draw on an array of services, including The New York Times, The Times of London, Knight-Ridder, Independent, News Ltd Australia and The Observer. 'With these services, thousands of pictures and graphics and the latest technology, we can make changes right through until the last paper rolls off the presses. 'Technology, coupled with a team of well-briefed, plugged-in correspondents, means the best is on offer every day from every corner of the globe.'