'Competing with Giants' a Vietnamese David vs Goliath story

By Anh Nguyen   September 24, 2018 | 02:30 am PT
A book on Vietnamese firm Tan Hiep Phat has been praised as important material reflecting Vietnamese business culture.

Competing with giant, the first book by a Vietnamese author published by ForbesBooks, is co-authored by Tran Uyen Phuong,  deputy CEO of the firm.

Justin Batt, chief revenue officer of ForbesBooks, said the story will help international businesspeople understand more about post-war Vietnam.

The book tells the story of Tan Hiep Phat, a Vietnamese firm established during the difficult times in the 1980s and 1990s, and its experience in competing with multinational giants.

Challenges for Vietnam's economy remain, but people like Tran Uyen Phuong are overcoming these difficulties to prove to the world that Vietnamese are not behind in catching up with global economic developments, Batt said.

The book is a story of a small business in Vietnam that has risen up to directly compete with giants, and "the world needs to hear that story," he added.

American author and speaker Deborah Toress Patel said she was impressed with the history of Vietnam told by the pictures of Vietnamese people in the 1980s and 1990s carried in the book.

American author and speaker Deborah Toress Patel

American author and speaker Deborah Toress Patel and Tran Uyen Phuong.

Patel said she'd heard a lot about how the Vietnamese won the war and its consequences, creating so many difficulties for the Vietnamese people. 

But they have overcome the past and strongly risen up with knowledge and courage.

Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the United Nations, said that the book was more than a story of a business, it was a story about Vietnam's economy after the war.

Vietnamese businesses have been constantly growing and competing with the giants; and businesses like Tan Hiep Phat have contributed to the development of Vietnam, he said.

Quy said he hoped that more books on the Vietnamese economy would reach global readers, emphasizing Vietnam's position on the global trade map.

Family business

Other people said that building a business culture is one of the biggest lessons in the book.

Dr. Amit K. Trehan, a gastroenterologist in Texas, U.S., said that Phuong's story is not only about her family but the whole company staff. 

Dr. Amit K. Trehan, a gastroenterologist in Texas, U.S.

Dr. Amit K. Trehan (middle), a gastroenterologist in Texas, U.S and Phuong's classmates in the Harvard's Owner/President Management (OPM) program.

Such corporate culture is not popular in Western countries and not many Eastern businesses can achieve it, he added.

Patel said readers can see the motivation to grow from a business where people are aiming in the same direction, like a family. 

All members of the "family" believe that nothing is impossible and put their all in achieving big goal, she added.

All of Phuong's family members had to put a lot of effort in building that culture. Phuong and her father, Tran Qui Thanh, were in charge of business and social activities. Phuong's sister, Tran Ngoc Bich, was in charge of operations, and Phuong's mother, Pham Thi Nu, was always caring about employees' personal lives.

The publisher released 20.000 copies of the book on its debut. It is also available on Amazon.com.

The publisher released 20,000 copies of the book on its debut. It is also available on Amazon.com.

Thanh said that he saw the book as proof that his daughter has grown to become a capable leader.

"My daughters did not understand why I was always strict and demanding. With what Phuong wrote in the book, I see that my daughter has become mature, understand the value that I try to build in the Tan Hiep Phat family," he said.

Phuong started writing the book after finishing her training at Harvard University in 2012. The book is co-authored by British journalist Jackie Horne and American economist John Kador. 

go to top