After nearly 20 years in the banking sector, North Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (BAC A BANK) CEO Thai Huong diversified into the dairy industry in 2008. At that time she declared, “I want to make the best fresh dairy products for Vietnamese children.”
By the end of 2010, she had turned a waste land in Nghe An to a huge modern dairy farm with 6,000 breeding cows. As of 2015, it was the biggest cluster of dairy farms in Asia with 45,000 cows.
With breakthrough thinking, Madame Thai Huong chose a completely different direction for BAC A BANK, which moved from investing in real estate and securities to focus on hi-tech agriculture.
The chairperson of TH Group says, “The decision came from my heart. On one hand, we operate as a commercial bank with capital mobilisation, lending and other services. At the same time, we offer consulting and investment. In particular, we focus on sustainable development, on human benefits, environment-friendly, and combine Vietnamese elements (intellectual and natural resources) with world-class technology. That is the way we make a difference.”
When she turned entrepreneur in the early 1990s, she had a desire to do something useful for the community. After nearly 20 years of counselling, she understood that while 70% of the Vietnamese are associated with agriculture, the country has abundant natural resources and agricultural products contribute substantially to the economy, there is no large-scale project in the sector. If she succeeded in offering fresh and nutritious milk of international standards, it would have a significant impact on the country. Also, it was a practical way of improving the physical and mental ability of the Vietnamese, as well as contribute to reducing the trade deficit for the country’s dairy industry. That’s how TH true MILK was born.
The total investment of up to $1.2 billion covers raw material, setting up food factories, dairy farms and processing plants, which would be Southeast Asia’s largest complex,and a national distribution system.
TH true MILK has won the trust of Vietnamese consumers and also earned various international awards. At its first appearance at the International Food Exhibition in Russia in May 2015, TH true MILK won seven awards (3 gold, 3 silver, one bronze).
In early 2016, TH true Milk beat 237 competitors to win three prizes at the International Fair Gulfood 2016 in Dubai. MadameThai Huong was honoured with the Individual Outstanding Achievement Award for her significant contribution to the transformation of the Vietnamese dairy industry.
On May 18, 2016, the TH Group started construction of a complex for dairy and milk processing (Phase 1) in Russia with a total investment of $2.7 billion. This is the first project involving a Vietnamese investor in Russia, and also the largest in terms of scale in this sector.
Organic and fresh food
Thai Huong’s ambition does not stop at the dairy market. She is now focusing on the fresh food sector, organic vegetables, healthcare and education.
Under her leadership, BAC A BANK has advised investors about the clean and pure natural flavors of TH Pharmaceutical JSC (TH Herbals). Within two years of commencing operations in June 2013, the first product of TH Herbals appeared in the US – the most demanding market in the world. US consumers have warmly welcomed five product lines under the brand name of Total Happiness Naturals. It was named Best Product of February 2015 by Beverage Industry Magazine. They were also featured on Drink Spotlight on TrendMonitor website.
Natural essence of vegetables and flowers
BAC A BANK, under the guide lines laid down by MadameThai Huong, also invests ingrowing and exporting organic vegetable and fresh flower (FVF). This eco-sustainable project not only actively contributes to preserving and protecting the natural environment, but also pioneers high-tech agriculture. The highlight is organic farming as per European standards (EC 834/2007) and that of the United States (USDA- NOP). Each product has a certification of commitment to quality and to offer a natural product.
After the launch in 2013, products under the brand name of FVF have gradually become popular with Vietnamese consumers. Currently, FVF offers more than 100 kinds of vegetables and fruits,and serve tens of thousands of meals for families in Vietnam every day.
The TH School System
As another ambitious vision from Madame Thai Huong is the TH School System. The first school begins in Autumn 2016 by enrolling students from the age of two up to high-school. It will apply the English high-standard model in combination with Vietnamese school programs (in history, geography and literature). TH School students can expect world-class education as well as nutritious meals everyday. Each student will be monitored carefully to ensure the appropriate method of education and nutrition.
Balancing business and service
Select a different path and set goals for sustainable development is the key goal set by Madame Thai Huong to ensure that her business interests bring in benefits for the local communities.
This harmony has brought laurels to BAC A BANK and the TH Group, which under her leadership have won many awards, both national and international.Among other honours, Madame Thai Huong was included by Forbes magazine’s list of Asia’s 50 Power Business women in the years 2015 and 2016.