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ENTREPRENEUR NGUYEN THI THAO NHI: MY SECRET OF SUCCESS ISBALANCING BUSINESS, FAMILY AND SOCIETY TOGETHER 


When I met her and talked with her, I admired even more the beautiful, talented and hardworking woman. Nguyen Thi Thao Nhi is so exuberant and energetic that whoever meets her will be quickly attracted to her ideas. The General Director of Thanh Binh Phu My Joint Stock Company is both gentle and steely as she has experienced many challenges in holding various leadership positions. Therefore, she is confident to lead Thanh Binh Phu My to go further on the market. Vietnam Business Forum has an interview with General Director Nguyen Thi Thao Nhi to learn more about her. Thanh Tung reports. 


When was the most difficult time in the development history of Thanh Binh Phu My Joint Stock Company? How did you and your colleagues manage to lead the company to go through that tough time? 

The first step is the hardest. Like other companies, Thanh Binh Phu My also faces certain difficulties. When I took on the management and investment of Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park in late 2011 and early 2012, what troubled me most was not that we had to continue investing, but that we had to start over. My first step was extremely hard because we did not have any development strategy and business orientation from the start. Divided standpoints on business policies among colleagues also distressed me. Therefore, it was very important to unify different minds to seek best business strategies to develop Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park. I think that was the toughest time for me, my colleagues and Thanh Binh Phu My Joint Stock Company, too 

The market is like a battlefield. All must be united to win, exist and develop. Fortunately, Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park has thus far promoted the solidarity of the company to get through the hardest time and work out a comprehensive development strategy. Most importantly, all members of Thanh Binh Phu My Joint Stock Company are confident of the chosen path and resolved to reach the peak of success. 

Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park aims to attract Japanese investors who will then help draw other multi-national investors, according to the spillover effect strategy. Could you elaborate on this strategy?

Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park is one of two model industrial parks developed in the framework of Cooperation and Development Agreement signed by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda in November 2011, aiming to set up two specialised industrial parks for Japanese investors. 

Japan is a highly industrialised country and is very far ahead of Vietnam. Environmental awareness, industrial awareness and thinking of Japanese people is very admirable and worth studying. For Japanese people, prestige is most important in business. To attract Japanese investors, Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park was heavily invested according to Japanese style. 

Importantly, we always learn what customers need in an industrial park to plan investment and construction of Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park, e.g. a strategic location, complete technical infrastructure and modern facilities of international standards to effectively meet the requirements of Japanese investors. Once earning the trust of Japanese investors, who are known for their extreme meticulousness in appraisal, Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park will certainly meet the requirements of investors from many countries and continents in the world like Europe, America and Asia, as well as businesses in Vietnam. Since then, Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park has been able to shape customer segments and well meet their requirements. 

Vietnam is the host country of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2017; the ASEAN Economic Community has been established; many free trade agreements (FTAs) signed by Vietnam are going to come into force; therefore, Vietnam expects to receive stronger flows of FDI. So, what will Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park do to embrace and effectively attract this huge capital inflow? 

To successfully attract FDI flows, apart from the complete infrastructure, the human factor is of paramount importance. It is necessary to have people with high levels of expertise and management skills to offer best services for FDI investors 

When we were developing Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park, we were very fortunate to have valuable support from specialists, who believe in our industrial park development strategy. We particularly treasured the cooperation of Japanese specialists like Mr Kazama Toshio - a managing director with more than 20 years of experience in industrial park management and strategic development in Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam. In addition, we worked closely with Japanese partners to provide services they need such as gas, electricity and logistics services to effectively provide these services to investors in the Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park. 

Luckily, Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park employs highly qualified, experienced and dedicated people and has complete services to serve tenants. Moreover, it also receives valuable support and cooperation from the Government and Ba Ria-Vung Tau province. As a result, Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park can offer the best, most professional and most effective services to customers, creating the foundation for sustainable development and to win the absolute trust of investors doing business in the industrial park. 

As far as I know, the target of Thanh Binh Phu My Joint Stock Company is to make Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park a worldclass destination to meet the expectation of the governments of Vietnam and Japan, and bring the best quality to customers. So, to realise this goal, what strategic steps have you and the Board of Directors of Thanh Binh Phu My Joint Stock Company planned for Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park? 

With the aim of becoming an exemplary industrial park according to the Provincial Base Economic Growth (PBEG) of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park as an exemplary industrial park, not only developing hard infrastructure (electricity, water, internet, gas etc.) but also completing soft infrastructure (one-place administrative service) to optimally meet requirements of tenants. 

This is also the reason why Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park is driven by the “Customer is King” principle where customers are placed on top. We also look to realise the goal of being a synchronous, modern and environmentally sustainable industrial zone. This is also the operating principle of Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park. 

If gender disadvantages are not taken into account, women seem to have many superior advantages in leading business. Do you think this is right? 

Being a business leader and a business owner at the same time, I myself can outline a strategy and decide on that development strategy as I wish. This is also my great advantage over men. 

Besides, as a businesswoman, I also have certain peculiar advantages. In business, women are often strong, straightforward and assertive while their true nature is purely affectionate, gentle, deft and subtle. Mixed altogether, women become very strong in business leadership. They are somewhat between rigidity and elasticity, and they therefore easily gather people and promote their collective strength. Especially, they usually apply the way they manage their family to business, like saving, caring with wholeheartedness and transparent spending. Thus, they do not face as many risks in administration as men. 

It is said that balancing business affairs, social affairs and family affairs is very important to an entrepreneur. How do you achieve this balance? 

Not only businesswomen but women in general must also balance their interconnected family affairs, business affairs and social affairs to have an enjoyable life and a successful business. No one is perfect. A human being has both strong points and weak points at the same time. It is rare to see a person have everything perfect. C’est la vie. If we spend more on this, we must spend less on that. 

Therefore, no matter how busy I am, I still try to balance my time for business, family and social affairs. Adversity brings good knowledge and knowledge brings wisdom. A human being typically has joy, anger, love, timidity, greed, hatred and delusion. Therefore, I always tell myself to be kind, merciful, happy and content to have peace of mind and clear thinking about everything. I try to learn how to accept, how to be pleased with what I have, how to get rid of negative thoughts to have my mind at ease, to revitalise internal energy. I also learn how to enjoy life in my own way to keep myself energised to better devote and serve my family, my business and the society. 

VIEWPOINTS OF MR KAZAMA TOSHIO, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF PHU MY 3 SPECIALISED INDUSTRIAL PARK, ON MS NGUYEN THI THAO NHI 

I met Nhi for the first time about four years ago. At that time, I wondered a lot whether this young woman could operate a large industrial park of 1,000 ha like Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park. I had experience in industrial park operation and management in Vietnam and Indonesia; however, I only handled industrial parks of 100 ha, 280 ha (in Vietnam) and 500 ha (in Indonesia). I had never had a chance before to work with an industrial park of 1,000 ha like Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park. And, this was also the first time I tried a new field: Operating and developing industrial park infrastructure. Working with her, I really, really admire this daring and extremely smart woman. Although majoring in chemistry at university, she has worked hard to build up her knowledge of industrial infrastructure. For the time being, I am sure that she is more knowledgeable than anyone else in this work. I had the opportunity to work with many businesswomen in Indonesia and Thailand, but I feel that Nhi is a really super woman. And indeed, she has made me completely change my concept of Vietnamese women.