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Vietnam entrepreneur builds multimillion-dollar business from dragon fruits

A businessman in Vietnam has made a big difference in his teeny business, earning around US$20 million in annual turnover and providing many jobs by tapping his hometown’s hallmark fruit.

>> An audio version of the story is available here

In 2000, Vo Huy Hoang, 49, who lives in Phan Thiet, the heart of the south-central province of Binh Thuan, started a small business trading in fruits and vegetables, particularly dragon fruits, his hometown’s specialty.

His “Rau Qua Binh Thuan” (Binh Thuan Fruits and Vegetables) Co. then had limited capital of VND20 million (US$919) and employed only a handful of workers.

Through these years he was single-minded on expanding his company, which now generates approximately $20 million in annual turnover, according to the company’s financial report, and provides jobs for around 200 locals.

His factory and premises have swollen from 100 square meters in 2000 to over 1,000 square meters in area now, with specialized sections including preliminary processing, packaging and freezing.

The businessman, dubbed ‘Hoang fruits,’ has also launched dragon fruit farms which cover around 20 hectares and meet Global Good Agricultural Practice (G.A.P) standards.

Global G.A.P. is a farm management tool created to meet the needs of the domestic and international markets for the quality and safety of products, thus raising the value of qualified farm produce.

It also helps boost the efficient use of resources and sustainable agricultural production, contributing to rural development and environmental protection.

As the provincial dragon fruit market is overly dependent on China as its main client, it dawned on Hoang that he should take a less-trodden path in getting his fruits exported.

“Singapore and Malaysia have steady demand for our dragon fruits, though the demand is not as great as that from China. I’m set on seeking clients from these two countries and making sure their technical requirements are met to forge a long-term partnership with them,” Hoang added.

His clientele also includes those in Western Asian countries, Indonesia, Thailand, Canada and the Netherlands.

Hoang’s company imports and exports a wide array of vegetables and fruits depending on the season, thus providing jobs for locals all year round.

Dang Mat Lan Nhi, a local, said she has worked at Hoang’s firm for eight years.

She finds her monthly salary of around VND3.5 million ($161) a month a sufficient, steady source of income, and cherishes her employer’s attention to his workers’ welfare.


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