Three Vietnamese women on Forbes top 50 list

Friday, Feb 28, 2014 17:36

Three Vietnamese women on the top list of Asia: Mai Kieu Lien, Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh and Nguyen Thi Nga. — Photo forbes

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Three Vietnamese women, Mai Kieu Lien, Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh and Nguyen Thi Nga, were named in the Asia Power Women 2014 list released by the US business magazine Forbes.

This is the third year Forbes has sought to honor 50 women from industries ranging from tool-making to venture capitalism, from construction to lingerie.

Forbes said its selection criteria were company revenue (rarely less than $100 million, frequently in the billions), the woman's position in the company (if she's the boss, it's a big plus) and how involved she is (preferably running day-to-day operations). Entrepreneurs were also favoured.

Mai Kieu Lien, chairwoman and CEO of Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk), has made great contribution in making Vinamilk one of the most profitable brands in Viet Nam and a blue chip on the local stock exchange, by delivering consistent growth in revenue and profits since its listing in 2006.

In 2013, the corporation's revenue gained 17 per cent to reach $1.5 billion. Lien plans to double that by 2017 as she takes the company global. In December, Vinamilk invested $23 million in a joint venture in Cambodia with Angkor Dairy Products, and spent $7 million on a 70 per cent stake in Driftwood Dairy Holding in California. In July, it got the approval to sell Vietnam-made dairy products in the US, adding to the almost 30 countries to which it already exports. It recently established a subsidiary in Poland, with a registered capital of US$3 million.

At home, Vinamilk opened two new factories in 2013, investing a total of $210 million to produce liquid and powdered milk.

Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh, chairwoman and CEO of Refrigeration Electrical Engineering (REE), has been with the company since 1982. She worked her way up from being an engineer to becoming the CEO of this home appliance, construction and real estate company in 1985.

After the war she studied electrical engineering at Karl-Marx-Stadt University in East Germany before returning home to join the struggling state-owned REE. She turned the company around by developing Reetech air conditioners. Under her leadership, REE became the first company to be listed on the Vietnam Stock Exchange in 2000.

The third name to figure on the list is Nguyen Thi Nga, chairwoman of SeaBank, BRG and Intimex. She is one of Viet Nam's richest women, thanks to her interests in banking, real estate, resorts and retail.

Since 2007 she has been chairman of SeaBank, a closely held retail bank with assets of $3.6 billion in which French bank Société Générale has a 20 per cent stake. She founded and controls BRG, a holding company with three golf courses in Viet Nam, most notably Kings' Island Golf Resort and Doson Seaside Golf Resort. She owns two hotels in Ha Noi which are managed by Hilton Hotels Worldwide, and then there's Intimex, a trading and retail company of which more than 30 per cent is owned by her family. All told, her businesses raked in revenue of more than $435 million last year.

Forbes has selected power women from 13 Asian countries. The other names on the list included Sun Yafang, Chairwoman of the board of Huawei Technologies; Ho Ching, Executive Director and CEO of Temasek Holdings; Sri Mulyani Indrawati, World Bank Managing Director; and Zhang Xin, CEO of Soho China Ltd. — VNS

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