Four Vietnamese billionaires on Forbes list

21:00 | 08/03/2018

The number of billionaires in Vietnam has doubled from last year to reach four on Forbes magazine's recently released 2018 list of the world's richest people.

four vietnamese billionaires on forbes list

Pham Nhat Vuong, owner of real estate conglomerate Vingroup and Vietnam's first billionaire, enjoyed his sixth consecutive appearance on the list, ranked as the world's 499th richest person this year. Vuong also retained his position as Vietnam's richest man with a net worth of $4.3 billion, a $1.9-billion increase compared to last year.

Vuong said he wants to construct huge buildings, contribute to changing the country’s face. He constructs not only buildings in Vietnam, but also refocuses the eco-system on people’s lives, with brands like Vinhomes, Vinmart, Vinschool, Vinmec, Vinpearl, and VinUni.

Soon people will be able to drive VinFast cars and children will watch the VinTaTa cartoon network.

Vingroup’s capitalisation is estimated at VND260 trillion ($11.5 billion) and will create ten-thousand jobs. In 2017, Vingroup recorded a total revenue of over VND90 trillion ($4 billion), up 57 per cent year-on-year, and VND8.9 trillion ($0.4 billion) of pre-tax profit. Almost all profit comes from the key real estate sector. At the end of 2016, Vingroup announced converting the Vinmec and Vinschool systems into a non-profit model, committing to reinvest 100 per cent of their profits to continuously upgrade and develop the system.

Vuong was born in 1968 in Haiphong city, studied at Hanoi University of Mining Geology in 1987 and received scholarship to study at Russian State Geological Prospecting University.

He started to process instant noodle “Mivina” in Kharkov, Ukraine in 1993. This brand became the most popular of almost all instant products in the country. From 2000, he invested almost all of his profit into his hometown in Vietnam, starting to build Vinpearl Land and Vincom at first, and quickly became the richest person in Vietnam.

four vietnamese billionaires on forbes list

CEO of budget carrier Vietjet Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao also made her second appearance on the list as the 766th richest person in the world. Vietnam's richest woman has an estimated net worth of $3.1 billion, nearly three times as much as when she made her debut last year with $1.2 billion.

Thao is said to be a “steel woman,” leader of powerhouse companies like Vietjet and HDBank. She is the founder and co-CEO of Vietjet, one of the key people developing this brand to become a competitor of Vietnam Airlines, the national carrier.

Vietjet has spent six years to become the leading brand on the market with a brand identification rate of over 90 per cent. In the latest quarter, Vietjet’s revenue from passenger transport has surpassed VND4 trillion ($176.2 million) with the 52-plane fleet.

Thao was born in 1970 in Hanoi. According to Bloomberg, she earned her first $1 million when she was 21 by selling fax machines and rubber plastic. Then she contributed capital to form Techcombank and VIB, which are two of the first private banks in Vietnam.

Nearly 25 years later, she has emerged as the first female billionaire of Vietnam. Almost all of her assets are held in shares of Vietjet and Dragon City (Phu Long Real Estate Co., Ltd.), a 65-hectare real estate project in Ho Chi Minh City.

She started receiving attention attention after Vietjet ordered 100 Airbus aircrafts worth $9.1 billion in 2013, and 100 Boeing MAX 200 units worth $11.3 billion. Thao and her husband, Nguyen Thanh Hung, are holding a series outstanding brands, such as HDBank, Vietjet, Sovico Holdings, Phu Long, and Phu Gia Securities Company.

four vietnamese billionaires on forbes list

Tran Ba Duong, now known as the “Automobile King of Vietnam” was ranked 1339th with a net worth of $1.8 billion.

Born in 1960 in Thua Thien-Hue province, Duong graduated from Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology and became a mechanic of an automobile garage. During his work at the garage, he collected capital and knowledge which he turned into Truong Hai Automobile Co., Ltd. in 1997 with the major business line of trading automobiles.

Since 2000, the corporation started assembling cars for foreign brands like Kia, Mazda, and Peugeot, as well as producing its own buses and trucks.

In 2007, Truong Hai Automobile Co., Ltd. was renamed to Truong Hai Auto Corporation (Thaco) and later became a distributor of two luxury cars in Vietnam market, BMW and MINI.

Thaco currently operates in auto manufacturing, assembly, and distribution as well as provides spare parts and maintenance services. The firm manufactures, trades, and distributes commercial vehicles (trucks and buses), manufactures and trades passenger cars of Kia (South Korea), Mazda (Japan), and Peugeot (France-Europe). As of April 2016, Thaco’s distribution system consisted of 89 showrooms and 53 dealerships nationwide.

Duong plays an important role in turning Thaco into the biggest car company in Vietnam with records in automobile sales and revenue. Notably, in 2016, the firm sold 113,000 automobiles, conquering 41.5 per cent of the market, while simultaneously raking in a record revenue of VND60 trillion ($2.64 billion) with profit in excess of VND8.5 trillion ($373.5 million).

In 2017, despite automobile sales falling to 90,000, Thaco still kept the largest market share with 35.8 per cent. At present, Thaco is setting foot into multiple sectors, including real estate, agriculture, and logistics.

four vietnamese billionaires on forbes list

Tran Dinh Long, 57-year old, has been named the world's 1756th richest person with a net worth of $1.3 billion. He founded Hoa Phat as an equipment and parts distributor in Hanoi in 1992. The company is currently considered the biggest steel maker in Vietnam, providing the market with office equipment, steel pipes, and construction steel.

In 2017, Hoa Phat produced a record volume of finished steel products—three million tones—a year-on-year increase of 25 per cent. Of this, construction steel accounted for 2.2 million tonnes, steel pipes for 600,000 tonnes, and galvanised steel for the rest.

Last year, Hoa Phat earned VND46.8 trillion ($2.06 billion) in accumulated revenue and VND8 trillion ($352.28 million) in after-tax profit, signifying on-year increases of 38 and 21 per cent, respectively.

Long is known for his working principle of not elevating family members and relatives to important positions in the company. The principle is widely considered a contributing factor to the success of Hoa Phat.

Along with his passion for work, Long is interested in football and used to own a helicopter. He founded the Hoa Phat Hanoi football club, which became the champion of V-League in 2006. Regarding the helicopter, in 2010 Long bought a six-seat helicopter for VND17.42 billion ($765.5 million). He often visits his mines by the helicopter.

Long affirmed that it was a luxury, but he is planning to buy a jet plane. However, in 2015, he sold the helicopter to a foreign firm because Hoa Phat stopped mine exploitation operations.

Huong Oanh

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