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Tran Ba Duong: From scratch to thaco “empire”

(VLR) The progress to build an empire manufacturing cars for the first time in Vietnam by Tran Ba Duong is a symbol of strong will and passion in his course of overcoming difficulties.

Tran Ba Duong, Thaco’s President of the Board of Administration

Tran Ba Duong, Thaco’s President of the Board of Administration

Tran Ba Duong, with his academic look, makes a few people think he is one of Vietnam’s leading businesspeople.

He was born in 1960 in Thua Thien - Hue in a not very wealthy large family. His father died prematurely. He passed his childhood in poverty. He had to keep following his study and helping her mother to do all kinds of work for a living, but always kept in mind a strong will of changing his life in the future. He passed the entrance exam to the HCM University of Technology and graduated from it with the major in forklifts and cranes in 1982. With the engineering degree, he applied for an automobile engineering company as a worker and he was assigned to be a leader of a team of repairers...

With the trained knowledge, with passion and a determination to go forward, in working progress, Duong accumulated experience and had many creative ideas: one of them was “Steering-wheel repositioning” project. It was approved by the Ministry of Transport- a great encouragement in the start of a famous businessman in the future. A few years after, Duong quit the job in the company to start a new one- to be a business owner.

On April 29th, 1997 Truong Hai Auto Corporation was founded at Bien Hoa 2, Dong Nai. And the founder was Tran Ba Duong himself. At its start, the company mainly focused on importing used cars, renovated them and sold them to the market. It also provided necessary spare parts for users.

However, it was just a start for Duong to realize his ambition. In 2002, he decided to find his ‘promising land’ in Chu Lai, Quang Nam for his paradise of automobile production. It was a rather bold decision while many considered it a risk for Chu Lai at the time was not the national large distribution center, transport to other

We have had efforts to achieve assigned targets and sped up programs of restructuring and improving administration works for various fields of production in the spirit of Thaco- “Develop with the country”.

Said Tran Ba Duong, Thaco’s President of the Board of Administration at the 15th anniversary of Thaco-Chu Lai

regions was inconvenient and investment expense was high. Especially, there was no local human resource: the majority of local people were farmers so it was extremely difficult to turn them into workers with industrial demeanor.

Duong did not step back. At the time, the Government approved to make Chu Lai the first open economic zone of the country. However, there were not many infrastructures. As a pioneer, Duong turned a dried white sand area into a leading area in the field of automobile production in Vietnam.

After overcoming piled on blunder, in 2011, Tran Ba Duong made Thaco develop strongly with automobile production.

Thaco has built up and developed by a distinguished strategy, participating directly in the global value chain to affirm its quality and determination. Duong said:” It is necessary to have enough determination for a long-term strategy. With the automobile production, resources to be invested in are not small, so money flows should be counted: if you cannot sell your products, your production and factory have no value at all”.

After 23 years of developments, Thaco has been a multi-sector corporation with the key sectors of automobile production and mechanics. The corporation has also developed other business sectors for resonant values and better competition abilities as agriculture, construction, logistics, trade and services.

Thaco Chu Lai Industrial Zone has been considered the largest automobile production and assisting industry center in Vietnam. There are 32 units belonging to Thaco, including automobile assembly factories, spare part factories and mechanics complex; Chu Lai port and units of forwarding, road and sea transport; construction companies, Thaco College and other assisting units.

Initial steps by Thaco in the field of automobile production and mechanical engineering have built up a foundation to expand to other fields as logistics and agriculture for better values. Thaco built up the Multi-use Mechanics Center for the Central with its products of machines serving agriculture: growing, processing, transporting and preserving.

This is a next step in the target of agriculture development- an important field of the country. Duong said it was from the Minister of the Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry Nguyen Xuan Cuong’s suggestion that he took part in the field of agriculture. Previously, Thaco invested in production of agricultural equipment and machines, and founded THADI Company with 5 business sectors: fruits, grains, forestry, animal husbandry and agricultural materials. THADI’s plan is to invested in farm and cooperation in growing fruits and forestry in Vietnam and Cambodia; to provide agricultural materials, equipment and specialized devices in accordance to product groups; to provide mechanical solutions and reproductive power; to apply digitalized technology and to apply industrial management methods in agriculture in a closed chain.

With great achievements and contributions, Thaco’s President of the Board of Administration Tran Ba Duong has received valued awards from the Government, local authorities and socio- economic organizations: especially, Labor Orders of Third, Second and First Class in the years of 2008, 2012 and 2018. “In 2020, Thaco has been in its third year of implementing the development strategy of being a multi-sector industrial corporation. We have had efforts to achieve assigned targets and sped up programs of restructuring and improving administration works for various fields of production in the spirit of Thaco- “Develop with the country”,” said Duong at the 15th anniversary of Thaco - Chu Lai.

Tran Trinh Lam

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