Poor student earns PhD, becomes first drone manufacturer in Vietnam

He once earned his living by picking up trash on Nhieu Loc Canal, failed the university entrance exam and had to go to intermediate school, but later got a scholarship to study in the US and obtained master’s and doctoral degrees.

Luong Viet Quoc’s childhood was spent on Nhieu Loc – Thi Nghe canal in HCM City where he picked up trash until 1-2 am and got numerous scratches on his feet.

Poor student earns PhD, becomes first drone manufacturer in Vietnam

Mr Luong Viet Quoc

When he turned 13, Quoc sold lemons and chili at Cau Muoi Market. At the age of 15, he collected worms for sale. Quoc, like other poor boys, experienced a childhood with full hardships. But unlike them, Quoc never dropped out because his grandmother told him that only education would improve his life.

Quoc graduated from high school, but failed the exam to enter university. He went to HCMC Finance Intermediate School (2-year training) instead. The failure could have shocked other people, but not Quoc. He believed that it was just a ‘pebble’ in his life.
After finishing intermediate school, Quoc followed in-service university study and learned English at the same time.

At an event organized at the park last November, Quoc revealed that his large-size flycam made by Real Times Robotics will be in mass production, not only for domestic sale but for export to the US as well.

When the US-funded Fulbright scholarship program unexpectedly removed the requirement that candidates had to graduate from full-time university training, Quoc applied. He became one of 26 candidates selected by the program in 2002.

What Quoc had at that time was a TOEFL certificate with a 660/677 score, a bachelor’s degree in accounting, and a bachelor’s degree in English.

With degrees and passion, he went to Cornell University in the US and obtained a master’s degree some years later. Eight universities in the US offered scholarships for a PhD and he finally decided to enroll at University of Berkeley in California where he obtained a doctorate in economics in 2011.

 

Quoc established a startup in San Francisco in the US and then a company in Vietnam in 2017, becoming the first Vietnamese licensed to manufacture drones.

“I am doing business in both Vietnam and the US, where I can exploit the local advantages – the capability of approaching and updating new technologies in the US, and the possibility of seeking high-quality low-cost engineers in Vietnam,” he explained.

With the initial investment capital of $13.5 million, Quoc leased over 9,000 square meters of land in the HCMC Hi-tech Park. One year later, Quoc opened a modern drone production facility which develops both software and hardware.

At an event organized at the park last November, Quoc revealed that his large-size flycam made by Real Times Robotics will be in mass production, not only for domestic sale but for export to the US as well.

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