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        Chairman – General Director of TrungThanh, Mr Phi Ngoc Chung: “My own path is the key”
       Mr. Phi Ngoc Chung said: "Experiencing difficulties, hardship, I think I must certainly become rich. However, I also understand that my desire is same hundreds of others, so it's important to choose its own path".
 
        What fate led you to the business?
      “Formerly, I did not have much ambition, comforted as a staff of Technology Food Company of the Ministry of Internal Trade. In 1990, I got one-time payment social insurance policy, so my family was having a hard time forced me to think of my work, and I finally adapted without any business training. After that time, I penetrated that the opportunity is not own one, it is important that we have the determination and ability to embrace or not”.
 
        From scratch, you built a career that many dream of, so what is the key?
       “My life has been miserable times. Selling ice cream on the streets in one year, I know the source that provided fish sauce. I drove each can of fish sauce to market in the city to sell for wholesale buyer. Gradually, I realized that I would not be better if I did the same thing with other people, so I chose my own path”.
 
        And what is your own path?
      “I found that consumers who want to buy fish sauce must bring plenty of the glass bottles, so I had an idea of packaging fish sauce in bottles to sell. This thing brings convenience to customers, so I decided to switch direction.
At first, it was the same kind of that fish sauce, but the bottling and labeling had made my products more superior. Subsequently, I understood more clearly when listening to a lecture on value-added products”.

        Consumer habits cannot be changed immediately. So how did you change the consumer habit?   
       “Initially, the product was not accepted, as the price of bottled fish sauce was more expensive than normal fish sauce, and it took a lot of time to acquaint the market. At first, I almost went bankrupt but I was still determined to go in the direction I chose. That belief was reciprocated when after that time TrungThanh products sold well. I drew many lessons: First, in business, sometimes we have to accept temporary setbacks. Second, if this product is successful, other products also have a chance. Third, manufacturers should invest in design and packaging of the product”.
 
       Many people said that you were reckless when establishing the company yourself in the early 1990s of the last century.
      “At that time, just organizations or businesses were allowed to produce and package products, so I had to set up a company. However, establishing business was not easy; it took me 3 months to get 30 signatures of the authorities and governments at all levels. On 08.01.1995, TrungThanh was established, and our first product was bottled fish sauce”. 
 
       From that time, is the product of TrungThanh only bottled fish sauce or many other food items?
     “As a lover of Vietnam traditional flavors, from the initial success of the fish sauce product, I learned, researched market as well as production technology, and decided to produce agricultural products which are handy and ensure traditional flavors to serve consumers. The products such as Pickled Sweet and Sour Egg-plant, Baby Cucumber, Chili Sauce, Soy Sauce made alternately dominated the trust of people.
 
 
       TrungThanh not only develops in the North but also rapidly expands markets across the country.
      “The trick is to do everything myself to get experience. The first day of preparation for production, I came to the coastal villages to learn how to make the fish sauce. When having the finished goods, I shipped by myself. You will not understand life and the market if you do not go through hardships. During that time, I had recorded many reviews of the consumer, so operating business became more favorable”.
 
     The difficulty of many businesses in Vietnam is offering their products abroad.  How has TrungThanh solved this problem?
      “My friends from overseas had tasted the fish sauce, pickled egg-plant with good feedback. I asked them to bring TrungThanh products to foreign country. The first fish sauce bottles brought to Russia had achieved unexpected results. After that, I decided to export a large batch. Date of shipment, I was very happy when understanding that the market is extremely large, it is important how to penetrate the market.
Sometimes, we had to cancel the shipment valued of more than $50,000 when abroad. Learning from those times, each shipment we sent samples abroad for testing food safety and the technical indicators in the import country requirements. Thanks to that austerity TrungThanh products are now free of quarantine in many countries”.

      Many people think that TrungThanh was wasteful when spending a lot of money to register intellectual property rights for the brand?
      “One year since it established, TrungThanh registered intellectual property rights as well as “fin” trademarks such as: TrungThang, TrungThanh, ThanhTrung, etc. At that time, registering brand of the business was still uncommon. Many people thought that TrungThanh was wasteful for spending a lot of money to buy something intangible. However, when integrating international economy, we realized the importance of the registration of intellectual property rights. In 2001, TrungThanh continued to register for protection of intellectual property rights in 40 countries around the world. Now there are over 100 TrungThanh products which are protected trademark. Currently, TrungThanh is one of the businesses which have protected trademarks in domestic and foreign”. 

        After nearly 18 years on the market, what makes you feel most confident?
       “We must not only be alert to recognize where the opportunities for ourselves, but also know how to realize those opportunities. Now, as owner of a business, I understand that success or failure is caused by human factor, and the staffs have the motivations, the desires that I have to meet. For me, ensuring the treatment for employees is always a top priority. In addition, I also organized many activities such as the annual "TrungThanh Festival", the ceremony at the end of the year, etc. to develop the corporate culture, and to officials and employees understand that they are respected. They are an integral part of the business, and are the ones making TrungThanh today”.
 
      Until now, TrungThanh have 7 times to reach the Title of "Vietnam High Quality Goods" voted by consumers, 3 times to receive Certification of "Strong Brand" and "Vietnam well-known trademark". The key of success is summarizedin three words: "Best for family". TrungThanh has a factory in Dong Van Industrial Zone, Ha Nam province with International Standard Organization (ISO) 22000-2005.
     Nowadays TrungThanh products are presenting in more than 40 countries such as Korea, Russia, Germany, China, Japan, France, Czech Republic, South Africa, etc. The export growth rate of TrungThanh averages 30% in recent years, and TrungThanh products have become familiar in European menu.


 

Him Magazine No. 86&87, 2013
 

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