Ho Chi Minh City (former Saigon) is the economic capital of Vietnam. It is situated by the side of the Saigon River towards the northern part of the Mekong River delta.
Ho Chi Minh City is the commercial center and the largest metropolis of Vietnam. Situated in the southern region of Vietnam, this area is dominated by the estuary of the Mekong River system and is called the Vietnam's "Rice Basket". Ethnic Vietnamese account for about 90% of Ho Chi Minh City's population while various other ethnic groups make up the remaining 10%. This 10% is mostly accounted for by the Chinese population.
One of the earliest known records of the area now known as Ho Chi Minh City says that it was a small fishing village called Prey Nokor, inhabited by Khmer people. In the year 1623 Vietnamese refugees fled from the civil war in Vietnam and settled in Prey Nokor (which was a part of Cambodia then) with the permission of the king of Cambodia. Gradually more Vietnamese refugees migrated to this area and this place came to be known as Saigon.
Ho Chi Minh City, situated in the southern part of Vietnam, is still called Saigon by most of the natives. This modern city used to be considered as the Pearl of the Orient by the French.