These are the most famous businessmen of Vietnamese origin in the US.
Billionaire Chinh Chu - "The formidable man" of Wall Street
Billionaire Chinh Chu
Chinh Chu, born in 1966, is a Vietnamese-origin billionaire in the US. He was a senior director of Blackstone Group, holding assets up to US$1.1 billion.
In 1975, his family went to America with only a few hundred USD in their pocket. Chinh Chu did many jobs while studying. Although he holds a Bachelor of Finance from the University of Buffalo, a public school in New York, his 15 job applications were rejected because this school apparently did not have the requisite reputation.
In 1990, the opportunity came to Chinh Chu when he was admitted by Blackstone. Chinh Chu helped Blackstone complete many profitable investments worth billions of USD.
In 2004, Blackstone made the biggest acquisition deal in Europe when taking control of Germany’s Celanese Chemical Group, thanks to Chinh Chu's efforts and expertise.
In late 2007, Chinh Chu was noticed by many newspapers as "an anonymous businessman" when he spent $34.3 million to buy the entire 89th floor and half of the 90th floor at Trump World Tower.
Chinh Chu got Wall Street respect when he was the "director" of the plan to acquire Dell Group for about $25 billion.
In 2015, billionaire Chinh Chu left Blackstone because he "wanted to explore new challenges", including non-profit segment. In late 2015, he founded CC Capital and is currently its senior CEO.
His wife is singer Ha Phuong, the sister of well-known Vietnamese singer Cam Ly.
In 2017, he was among the top 400 billionaires in the world as announced by Forbes
In 2015, Hoang Kieu received public attention when he was named among the US' newly emerging billionaires. In 2017, he was among the top 400 billionaires in the world as announced by Forbes with net assets worth $3 billion.
Hoang Kieu was born in 1944 in the central province of Quang Tri. At the age of 5, Hoang Kieu moved to Saigon to live with his uncle Hoang Thi, a famous artist at that time.
After 1975, he left Vietnam to the US. Thanks to good English and connections, he got a job at Abbott’s lab for $1.25 an hour. After a few years at Abbot, he became the director in charge of checking plasma samples.
Hoang Kieu decided to start his own company. By 1985, he had 11 plasma centers across the United States. A few years later, Hoang Kieu expanded his network globally, finally penetrating the Chinese market.
Hoang Kieu is not on the list of billionaires anymore, but he is known as a talented businessman, who owns the famous wine company Kieu Hoang Winery in California.
Trieu Nhu Phat
Trieu Nhu Phat was born in Hai Phong. At the age of 7, his family moved to Saigon. Growing up in a family of 10 brothers and sisters, he had to work very hard to graduate from university.
In 1975, he and his wife moved to the US. Thanks to good English, he easily found a job selling vacuum cleaners in California. In 1978, he started his real estate business in California by founding Bridgecreek.
Realizing the rapid increase of Asian immigrants to the US, Phat came up with the idea to build Little Saigon - "a small town of Vietnam" to not only reflect culture and commerce, but also represent the story of the immigrant's "American dream".
Bridgecreek has invested in real estate projects with a total value of up to $400 million, including the Asian Garden Mall, an important commercial center for Asians in America.
In 2002, US President George Bush appointed Phat to the Board of Directors of the Vietnam Education Fund (VEF). This fund, belonging to the White House, specializes in supporting Vietnamese-US educational exchanges. It has granted scholarships to hundreds of Vietnamese intellectuals to study in the US. Later, Phat became the VEF Director.
Billionaire Trung Dung - starts business with only $2
Trung Dung, born in 1967, is a Vietnamese-American programmer and billionaire. In 1984, he set foot in the US with only $2 and little English. He and his mother had a hard time. However, he did not give up his studies at the University of Massachusetts. Within 3 years, he got two bachelor's degrees in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science, and completed 90% of the master's program.
After graduation, he became an engineer at Open Market and developed commercial software. In 1995, he founded On Display, focusing on research and development programs to help control and manage online businesses. Trung sold this company for $1.8 billion in 2000.
In 2005, he established the V-Home Group, which gathered successful Vietnamese-American entrepreneurs looking for investment opportunities in Vietnam.
He has received many awards, including the 2005 American Heritage from the American Immigration Law Organization, the 2004 Golden Torch of the Vietnamese American Association, and the Forty Under Forty Awards of East Bay Business, California. The story of his successful career in America has been published in many leading newspapers in the world.
Compiled by Hanh Nguyen
While billionaires have been expanding their business fields, other businesspeople have scaled down their operations and sold some subsidiaries.
Four Vietnamese entrepreneurs have been named in the list of the world’s richest people in 2020 by Forbes magazine.