Viettel and start-up stories
Wednesday, 2017-02-01 11:20:24
NDO - Major General Nguyen Manh Hung, General Director of the Vietnam Military Telecommunications Group (Viettel) who is known as the 'mastermind' behind Viettel over the past 15 years granted an interview to Nhan Dan in relation to the successful start-up stories of Viettel.
Q: Some 15 years ago, Viettel entered the telecommunications market with a capital of more than VND2 billion (US$88,000). Three years later, Viettel established the VoIP (Voice-over Internet Protocol) and two years later it established its mobile network. After 15 years of participating in the domestic market and 10 years entering the international market, Viettel now has become Vietnam's leading telecom corporation with capital amounting to hundreds of trillions of Vietnamese dong. How did Viettel transform into a ‘giant’ from such humble beginnings?
A: Every success has its own simple beginnings and the same can be said for Viettel. It is vital to define the company’s potential and destination while having the determination of a soldier.
Viettel faced enormous difficulties during the initial time of start-up. After achieving success in the domestic market, Viettel shifted investment to foreign markets and conquered distant markets such as Mozambique, Haiti and Peru, among others.
Viettel entered the world market thanks to its experience and bravery and was given opportunities to learn and compete with the world's leading telecom corporations.
Q: The start-up story of Viettel is worthwhile for domestic businesses to refer to. Can you tell us more about Viettel's achievements throughout the ten years of investing abroad?
A: After only ten years, Viettel has invested and run businesses in nine countries throughout three continents with a total population of up to 320 million (more than three times higher than the population of Vietnam). In the coming time, Viettel will endeavour to invest in a tenth market.
In 2016, Viettel recorded 100 million total global subscribers and became one of the 30 telecom companies with the largest number of subscribers. Viettel also ranked first in five foreign markets out of nine markets that are running business.
360,000 km is the total length of fiber optic cable of Viettel in Vietnam and nine foreign markets.
With high prestige and potential of technology and finance in addition to well qualified staff and large investment in research and development, Viettel has grown strongly and is the most profitable firm in Vietnam.
Q: Can you share the valuable experiences Viettel has gained?
A: Based on Viettel's experience, the important conditions of a start-up include establishing a clear goal, structure of products and services as well as market and, most importantly, it must have belief in itself.
I think that the most important condition of a start-up does not relate to money. During the initial phase of its establishment, Viettel had a small asset of roughly VND2 billion including old cars and an office and fewer than 100 workers.
Q: To set up a business, enterprises always ask for support packages. What do you think about this?
A: I think that support packages should be given to enterprises with feasible ideas featuring products and services capable of entering the market.
If a start-up has a product which has already been successful in Vietnam, they can introduce it to Viettel so that we can assist them in bringing it to foreign markets that Viettel is investing in. Large Vietnamese companies abroad will support start-ups to develop a community of Vietnamese businesses there.
Q: Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc gave Viettel some advice on the occasion of its 10th anniversary investing abroad. Which piece of advice did you pay most attention to?
A: I have always focused much attention on the advice that Viettel should protect its trademark like it would protect national treasures, helping create a new model of development for Vietnam.
In addition, it should promote the development of products and services with high added value based on innovation, advanced technology and high productivity.
Over the next ten years, Viettel will not only be present in 10 countries but will double or even triple its overseas markets with a total population surpassing one billion.