Huynh Quang Hai has come a long way from his early beginnings. He and his eight siblings grew up on a farm in Quang Ngai, a poor province in Central Vietnam. However, his parents wanted better for them and pushed them all to study.
“My parents wanted all their children to get an education because they believed that if we were able to go to university, we would be able to change our future.”
He eventually did obtain a university education and subsequently, a job at a freight forwarding company. While on the job, he met the then-CEO of Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park (VSIP), Cheong Kai Kong and was offered the job as the assistant to the CEO. This was in the 1990s and marked the start of his career at VSIP.
Three years into his time in VSIP, he told them that he did not want to stay on in his job as he wanted to learn more. Recognizing his potential, the company sent him to Singapore in 1999 where he obtained a graduate diploma in Business Administration and a Master of Science (Management of Technology) from the NUS Business School.
His time at the NUS Business School put his life on a different career path.
Armed with his new qualifications and his experience in Singapore, he rose quickly up the ladder of the company and he is now the Group Executive Director of VSIP Group and CEO of VSIP JSC. The experience here made a big difference to his life.
“Living in Singapore, I got an education and I got a lot of advice. I also learned a lot from the program, from professors, classmates and the school. But the most important thing was the experience of living in a foreign country.”
“You can talk to people from different countries, you can interact with businessmen, and you can see different business concepts that are only today arriving in Vietnam.”
What was also an eye-opener was to see people from different backgrounds working together in harmony, he said.
He has taken all these lessons to heart and it has helped him to make the VSIP the success that it is today. It now has 380 projects from 22 countries and has brought in more than US$2 billion worth of investments into the country.
According to him, the success of VSIP lies in the fact that it is more than an industrial park.“We are creating an investment environment for investors. After years of building up the country, we have yet to build up very good infrastructure to welcome manufacturers from foreign countries.” He also credits its success to the various government agencies in Singapore that have lent their experience and expertise to the project.
Hai is very proud of what VSIP has achieved. “We have created a very transparent investment environment for the investor, and we have created almost 70,000 jobs for the people in the country.”
VSIP is also important for its knock-on impact on the rest of the country, he said. It has become a model for other provinces to follow. Thanks to VSIP, Vietnam’s industrialization can move into a higher gear as other provinces also create infrastructure projects that meet the expectations and requirements of foreign investors.