return icon

The turning points in the lives of Vietnamese billionaires

Once dreaming of becoming a university lecturer, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao finally became a businesswoman and billionaire. Others became billionaires though they did not complete or even attend university.

The only female dollar billionaire

In early 2020, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, the founder and CEO of Vietjet, for the first time talked to the local press about how she began her business at the age of 17.




Vietjet CEO Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao


“When I was a child, I dreamed of becoming a teacher like my mother. I wished that I could have a stable job as a university lecturer, buy an apartment, and own a motorbike,” she told Tuoi Tre.

However, she changed her mind when she got a scholarship to study abroad and witnessed East European countries carrying out ‘perestroika’ (reform). She believed that Vietnam will also shift from a centrally planned economy to a market economy.

And she started her business. At the age of 21, she got $1 million. At that moment, one tael of gold could be bought at VND2 million.

If Thao had not made the decision to become a businesswoman at the age of 18, Vietnam would not have such a young female billionaire.

University lecturers becomes businessmen

Truong Gia Binh had great merit in the establishment of the Business Administration Faculty under the Hanoi National University in 1995, where he worked as a lecturer.

In 2006, Binh set up FPT University and gave lectures on Art of Leadership and Business Culture. Later, he became president of FPT, the largest Vietnamese IT group.

Bui Quang Ngoc was a lecturer at the Mathematics and IT Faculty of the Hanoi University of Science and Technology in 1979-1982 and 1986-1995. When joining FPT, he held the post of director of ISC, the predecessor of the ICT divisions of FPT (FPT IS, FPT Software, FPT Telecom and FPT Trading). Later, he became vice chair of FPT.


Once dreaming of becoming a university lecturer, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao finally became a businesswoman and billionaire. Others became billionaires though they did not complete or even attend university.


Tran Mong Hung, former chair of the founding council of ACB, was a banking lecturer (1978-1980).

Meanwhile, Nguyen Tu Quang, now president of BKAV Corporation, better known for anti-virus products and high-end smartphone model BPhone, was also a lecturer at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology after finishing studies at the school.

Businessmen go to school at older age

‘Dung Lo Voi’ (Dung lime kiln), a well known businessman, received ‘Doctor and Master of Business Administration’ from Apollo. Meanwhile, his wife received ‘Certificate for honorary visiting professor’ from the same school.

The awards were given to entrepreneurs with dedications to business and community activities in Asia.

At the age of 73, Le Thanh Than, dubbed as “hubble-bubble businessman” received an honorary bachelor's degree from the World Records University (WRU).

Famous businessmen with no bachelor’s degree

Nguyen Thi Nhu Loan, born in 1960 in Phu Yen province, did not study at university. But this did not prevent her from becoming a very successful businesswoman.

She was included in the list of the 15 richest stock billionaires in 2012, listed among top 100 businesswomen honored and granted Bong Hong Vang (Golden Rose) Cub by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Women’s Federation. The cub is awarded annually to honor the most outstanding businesswomen.

Doan Nguyen Duc, better known in Vietnam as ‘boss Duc’, finished high school in 1982 at the age of 20 and left home for HCM City and attended the university entrance exam. However, he failed the exam, and failed three more attempts.

He became a businessman at the age of 22 and realized that there are many ways to success.

Hoa Sen Group was believed to spend big money to invite Nick Vujicic to come to Vietnam some years ago. The president of the steel manufacturing group is Le Phuoc Vu, who never went to university.

Vu was born in 1963 in Quang Nam. He started his business in 1994 with a corrugated retail unit. In 2001, he set up Hoa Sen JSC in Binh Duong, employing 22 workers. The unit has expanded to Hoa Sen Group.

Duong Ngoc Minh is chair and CEO of Hung Vuong JSC (HVG), chair of Viet Thang Animal Feed JSC (VTF), and deputy chair of An Giang Seafood Import-Export JSC (AGF). He also doesn’t have a bachelor’s degree. 

Bao Anh

The 'hidden' rich kids of Vietnamese billionaires

The 'hidden' rich kids of Vietnamese billionaires

Unlike other rich kids, these sons and daughters of the billionaires don’t often appear in the media.

Special day for two billionaires: mountains of money pouring in

Special day for two billionaires: mountains of money pouring in

Techcombank share prices have soared, while the Hoa Phat Group of the billionaire Tran Dinh Long has reported a record 30-year profit. The prosperity of these enterprises has helped their owners earn more money despite Covid-19.


Use of e-cigarettes by youth rockets with easy availability at shops

Many students and young people have been hospitalized in a deep coma after using e-cigarettes, which are easy to buy.

How will telecom carriers fare in a highly competitive market?

The traditional telecom market is getting saturated and facing upheavals, including a drop in revenue from traditional calls and SMS, a tighter management policy and changes in technology.

Number of international visitors to Vietnam sets 'record' after pandemic

Vietnam welcomed 2.95 million foreign visitors in January-November 2022, 21.1 times up year on year, but still down 81.9% compared with pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

Su-30MK2, Mi helicopters rehearse in Hanoi

On December 2, Su-30MK2 fighters performed in a rehearsal to prepare for the upcoming Vietnam International Defense Exhibition 2022.

Vietnam sends condolences over passing of former Chinese leader Jiang Zemin

Vietnamese leaders on December 2 cabled messages of condolences to Chinese leaders over the death of former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and former President of China Jiang Zemin.

Ministry proposes canceling funding plans over disbursement delays

Disbursements of public funds sourced from foreign loans in the year through November had moved at a snail’s pace, reaching only slightly more than 25% of the full-year plan.

Hanoi to pilot bike rental service in six urban districts

Hanoi has approved a year-long pilot bike rental service programme in Hoan Kiem, Tay Ho, Dong Da, Ba Dinh, Hai Ba Trung, and Thanh Xuan districts.

Weightlifters hope for Olympic qualification from world championship

It was scheduled to be held in Chongqing, China, but this changed in March due to COVID-19 measures in China. The new location was announced in April.

Striker Nguyen Van Quyet named best player of 2022 V.League 1

Striker Nguyen Van Quyet received a statue for the most valuable player of the 2022 V.League 1 season at a V.League Awards ceremony organised on December 1 in Hanoi.

Meteor shower to light up Vietnamese skies on December 13

Local sky gazers will have a rare opportunity to witness the peak of the Geminids meteor shower, with the astronomical event set to occur between midnight on December 13 and the morning of December 14.

Da Nang wins Best Vietnam Smart City Award for third time

The central city of Da Nang has been granted the Best Vietnam Smart City Award 2022, the third time so far.

Newly-established, re-operating enterprises up over 33% in 11 months

Vietnam saw nearly 194,700 newly established and re-operating enterprises in the first 11 months of 2022, up 33.2% over the same period in 2021, a 1.3 times higher than the average rate in January – November period from 2017 - 2021.

Politburo members discuss review of resolution on HCM City development

Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong on December 2 chaired a Politburo meeting on a project to review the 10-year implementation of a resolution on the orientations and tasks for the development of HCMC until 2020 and 2030, with a vision to 2050.

Exporters face tax unless they cut greenhouse gas emissions

Exports to the EU market will become more expensive unless enterprises implement greenhouse gas emission cuts. This will affect the competitiveness of many Vietnamese export companies.

Some of the best fishing lakes in and around Hanoi

Here are some of the most popular fishing lakes near Hanoi. On weekends, the number of people flocking to commercial centres, pedestrian streets or entertainment areas in the inner city of Hanoi has increased.