Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Webwednesday Part 2.0 - a review

I was attending the second Web-Wednesday tonight at vibes (thanks by the way to Chris Tran and the other organizers, great job folks). The main topic was "How is the current situation of social networks in Vietnam after Yahoo closed its 360 service?".

We saw the usual suspects there, Caravat, Zing, YuMe and - Webtretho. While the big guys tried to impress with numbers (yes, just overtook facebook with 1 million active users), Nguyen Hoang anh, Marketing Manager, pointed to her core business: parents. Webtretho isn't even a social networks, it's more a forum, has about 300.000 members, mostly with nicknames, publishing not much about themself. But when it comes to problems with kids, the users are posting like crazy. That what you call "active users".

I really love that idea. I was always a fan of niche marketing, because that's the way you target the right audience. Forget the 20somethings on facebook, if you want to sell diapers, go to Webtretho. That's where your customers are.

So what we learned from the webwednesday was, that all the players still want to become number one and trying to get huge numbers of users, while niche products getting a nice piece of the cake of advertising.

The best question came from Simon, who asked the speakers, if one of them is using facebooks fanpages. None of them do it. They call themself a network, but don't do real networking. They just abandon on 900.000 users.

Leaving for Barcamp Phnom Penh


It's one of the most outstanding tech events in South East Asia and the organizer can be proud to make it the second time. Hope to see a lot of people on Barcamp Phnom Penh on the coming weekend.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dusty Sydney

Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
Woke up and saw a city in dust - no, not Saigon this time, I am talking about Sydney. A storm brought a lot of dust from the countryside, first time since decades as they said here. Was impressive, but never dangerous. Looks actually more scary then it was.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

German bakery Schneider's finest with Vollkornbread in Saigon

Just opened: The new german bakery in Pasteur street/Corner 27 Hanh Thuyen (just around Au Parc cafe) sells german Vollkornbread and German Brötchen (small breads) as I haven't seen it in Saigon before. That feels like home. Prices are reasonable, 48.000 for a bread, 5000-7000 for a small bread (as you see in the picture)

german brötchen

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"we need a bridge, we bring you here to build it. "

One thing I always hated in Germany was an kind of bashing on foreigners. Either they were blamed to steal jobs, girls or apples from trees. Usually it's just to blame others for your own fault. And it's so easy, in eastern Germany foreigners were actually chased when the economy went down after the fall of the wall (whole eastern German y at this time had less foreigners than the city of Frankfurt). Remember Rostock, when idiots set a house on fire were Vietnamese families lived. It was one of the most tragic moments after 1990.

Since I am in Asia, I love the friendliness and the lovely people here. Especially Vietnam greeted me always with a smile.

For any reason, it's seems to get a bit more tough between foreigners and locals. Stricter Visa regulations, stricter business regulations. A week ago we saw a driver throwing garbage out of his window while he was waiting. We just looked surprised on him, he suddenly got upset and said, we are foreigners, we are not supposed to tell him what's right or wrong.

Today, I found this post on facebook (I immediately un-friended this guy):

Take this: 90% of foreigners in Vietnam are losers, nomatter where they are from: US, UK, Australian, Korean. They were unemployed, failed to do business or desperately paid child support in their own country, so they come here to seek a better career. Remember that they are nobody in their country so if you treat them like big bosses, they do'nt know how to behave.....The way I see it is: we need a bridge, we bring you here to build it. Just have your job done and keep your voice low. Guests should always be polite, and if you are rude, we'll show you the way out.

Why out of a sudden we get this kind of experience? Is it just a coincidence? I hope so. I strongly believe that there is only one world. We trade in one world, we share experience. There is a cultural difference, and that's good for a variety, but there is no better than others. all countries failed who believed in they are the superior nations. I learned that from German history. And because of this history I will always try to bring people together instead of dividing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

One more funny expat posting

Some expats are really lost in this country, and without their army of helpers they would just die out of starvation. This family isn't at that stage yet, but close to:

My Nanny/ Maid/ Cook has not been showing up for work since last
Wednesday after the Public Holiday. She came with very good references
but she's just not that reliable and the ironing is piling up. I would
really appreciate it if anyone can forward on a contact number for an
english speaking child friendly helper.

Ok, at least she isn't mentioning about the food, so they were able to find a restaurant or a delivery service Let's see what will happen if there is no ironing lady in sight. Oh, and if you see the rats walking all in to the same spot, the expat family might haven't found the waste bin yet.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Business Visa to Vietnam only for three months? Work permits easier?

The Word is running a story about new visa regulations.
Based on an article published in on Thanh Nien’s website in July, it seems there is more to the problems people are now facing with visa renewal than was at first thought.

According to Ho Chi Minh City’s police department, there are presently 50,000 foreigners residing in the city. Of these, say the labour authorities, only 14,500 have work permits. As a result, writes Thanh Nien, “Labour authorities are seeking stricter measures to curb the rising number of foreign workers working in the city illegally.”

Such measures may include requiring “foreign workers to acquire a labour permit before entering Vietnam. The body also said immigration agencies should not be allowed to extend visas for foreigners working in the country without the permit.”

It seems that without a certain permission from the immigration authorities you will only get a three months business visa extended. The website is also only offering 1 and 3 months visa.

Anyone any more information about that issue? I am also got some information from tha Word that for a work permit:
you now no longer need a police report from your home country if you have been residing in a city or province of Vietnam for six months or more. Instead, you need to apply for a background check from the local So tu phap (Department of Justice). In addition, providing you can prove you have been working in your field of expertise for over five years, then a university degree is unnecessary. However, it remains desirable.