Weekly Update Feb 11: Tet Lunar New Year, Monthly Lunch

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Upcoming Events and Activities (next two weeks)

Plan ahead. Click here to see all upcoming Events and Committee Meetings

We-Mo, Feb 6-11 TET Lunar New Year (VN Holiday) “Tet is the festival which epitomizes the identity of Vietnamese culture. Many rites, festivities and practices of Vietnamese TET hark back to myths and legends of the Viet culture of the Bronze Age (first millenium B.C.) called the Red River Culture.” Click the link to learn more.

Th, Feb 28 Grade A office rents in HCM City to reach US$ 100/sqm. Can you afford it? Rising office rents (along with everything else) affects all of us, whether your company is in a shop house or a Grade A office tower. Savills Vietnam believes Grade A rents will top US$ 100 per sqm in the next 2 years. Have you planned for this in your budgets? Grade B are already reaching US$ 60 per sqm. Come find out where the market is going and decide how it affects your business.

News and Issues Updates

Vietnam’s economy grappling with success. Annual inflation rate hit 14% in Jan. Public sector wages increased 20%. The rising cost of living has caused a rash of strikes. Workers minimum wages up. Bank loans up 37% in 2007.

Tens of thousands of workers in FDI firms strike due to “wrong reading” of minimum wage directive. Most companies only adjusted wages that were BELOW the new minimum, but, according to the directive, ALL wages and allowances were to increase in proportion with the minimum wage rise. A Vietnam Labor Federation Vice Chairman said the hike applied to ALL workers, whether their current pay was higher or lower than the minimum wage.

Lucent Technologies pays US$ 1 million fine to resolve corrupt payments allegations. The company provided travel and other things of value to Chinese government officials and improperly accounted for certain corporate expenditures on behalf of those officials. Lucent spent millions of dollars on approximately 315 trips for Chinese government officials that included primarily sightseeing, entertainment and leisure.

Rolls-Royce airmailed to Vietnam for TET Lunar New Year. The buyer said her motives in buying the car had been partly patriotic: “I’m so proud of the car. This will show the world that Vietnam is not a country of poverty and war, but a lucrative market.”

Trading rights and Distribution rights: Mercedes-Benz to import vehicles and spare parts. Mercedes-Benz Vietnam has won a licence to import complete-built units. Customers would now be able to buy Mercedes-Benz vehicles from genuine sources and felt totally assured of the origins and verification of the cars, and could enjoy post-sale services and spare parts provided by Autohaus Mercedes-Benz nationwide.

Rents in major cities have sky-rocketed. Market observers said rising rents were dangerous for the economy, particularly as they hinder competitiveness and corporate expansion.

Event Presentations, Downloads, and PHOTO ALBUMS

Event Presentations and PHOTO ALBUMS Did you miss an AmCham event? Were you there but wanted to have a copy of the presentation? Didn’t get the business card of the person you were talking with? Now you can download the presentations by clicking on the above link. Also, you can see a list of people that attended the event, with links to their company contact information.

Online Membership Directory Looking for information on AmCham members? Click here to browse the Online Membership Directory for information about and contact points for our 400 member and associate companies, and about 800 representatives. Also with links to their company web sites for even more information about American and international businesses in Ho Chi Minh City.

Benefits and Services Review AmCham benefits and services and learn how you can benefit from Networking Online, with about 100,000 visitors and 200,000 page-views per month to www.amchamvietnam.com.

Your announcement in AmCham’s Weekly Update email Early each week, AmCham’s Weekly Update email goes out to nearly 800 representatives of over 400 AmCham member and associate companies, plus thousands of subscribers in Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, and the USA. We welcome event announcements that are of interest to our business readers.

Computing Tips from the AmCham Webmaster

Not receiving AmCham’s weekly update emails? Then, please check your spam of junk mail folder. To insure that you receive all future communication from AmCham, please add our email address to your address-book and to your “safe list” or “white list” (if applicable).

How sticky is membership on Facebook? Just try breaking free. Some users have discovered that it is nearly impossible to remove themselves entirely from Facebook, setting off a fresh round of concern over the popular social network’s use of personal data. Only people who contact Facebook’s customer service department are informed that they must painstakingly delete, line by line, all of the profile information, “wall” messages and group memberships they may have created within Facebook.

Why do my google search results say, “This site may harm your computer?”. Google explains: “This warning message appears with search results we’ve identified as sites that may install malicious software on your computer.” Then there is plenty of information about how to prevent or get rid of “badware” on your computer. 27 Jan 08.

Spreading the love of physics via MIT OpenCourseWare on iTunes. Walter H. G. Lewin, 71, a physics professor, has long had a cult following at MIT. And he has now emerged as an international Internet guru, thanks to the global classroom the institute created to spread knowledge through cyberspace. Professor Lewin’s videotaped physics lectures are free online. 20 Dec 07.

Keep up-to-date about U.S.-Vietnam trade and investment with Weekly Updates.