In the summer of 2008, at a youth soccer tournament in Thai Binh province, three men stood watching a nine-year-old boy play and discuss something. At the end of the day, a surprise offer was rendered to him: an invitation to training at the biggest soccer centre in Hanoi.
That boy is Doan Van Hau, who had never thought that only ten years later, at the age of 18, he would be famous nationwide as a core member of U23 Vietnam team, the AFC U-23 Championship runner-up.
And the one who offered Van Hau the invitation that year is Do Quang Hien, Chairman of T&T Group, who cried when his expectation was realised.
Soccer can be seen as a symbol of Hien's business philosophy. For him, business is not just about money; it should first contain the heart, the virtue, and humanity. TheLEADER exchanged with him about this matter.
Having invested in football for more than a decade, you have gained successes but also a lot of failures. What makes you persistently pursue this field?
I always make this joke to people, "the concentration of soccer in my blood is very high". The passion for soccer runs deep in not only me but also 90 million people in Vietnam. When U23 Vietnam won the silver medal in AFC U-23 Championship, all the people went cheering on the road.
Soccer is the king of sports. Through soccer, the world can understand more about Vietnam and its people, so it is an effective channel to promote our country.
The recent success of U23 Vietnam and the national team mainly stem from the young players of the T&T training centre. However, from the investment perspective, youth soccer costs highly on money and time, not to mention the high risks. Why did you keep this way?
Starting from young trainees, T&T Group aims at sustainable development. So I decided to set up a totally new club led by former soccer star Trieu Quang Ha. When building anything, I pay the most attention to culture. From the beginning, apart from the professionalism, the club has to build a culture of humanity and ethics and tries to let it thrive in the minds of young players. The now-famous U23 players are trained in this way with strict disciplines since the age of nine or ten years old.
Could you reveal more about the culture that you want to nourish?
First of all, it is the dedication. Those kids sometimes told me not to worry because they would try their best for me. I told them that they should not think so; they should try for themselves first, as they are professional players, and also for their families and their professional dignity.
Second, it is the respect for the spectators. Dishonesty or half-hearted matches equal to insulting them. Without fans, football is dead.
Third, it is the image of the whole team, the city, and the fatherland. I often told them, “I aim at the championship, which means doing anything needs goals and ambition. We have to strive for higher achievements: the third to the runner-up, then to the championship.” And I have always nourished the national spirit in them.
Our success in soccer proves that Vietnam can do wonders, not only in soccer but also in many other fields.
Mentioning other fields, apart from 12 years investing in soccer, T&T Group has spent 25 years on business development. What is T&T Group preparing for the wonders?
Starting as an electronics company, T&T Group is now a multidisciplinary group with seven major areas and 70,000 staff. In any field, T&T Group promotes ethics and culture in business, which are also the value I have always pursued.
In the past two years, T&T Group has cooperated with some of the world's largest corporations in some areas of national interest. For me, learning from talents is the most effective and sustainable way to reach our goals.
Why should foreign corporations choose T&T Group?
In fact, choosing T&T Group as a partner comes from the aspirations of foreign corporations. Before making a deal, large corporations have thoroughly studied the competitive strategy of T&T Group.
The first is a long-term and sustainable development strategy. The second is the corporate credibility. The third is the leader. Last but not least, foreign corporations appreciate companies paying attention to the sustainable development of society.
What are T&T Group's profits?
Apart from profitability, the T&T Group's vision is to be a companion to the community and society. That is also one of the advantages of T&T Group to foreign corporations.
Looking back on your career, did you ever think you were lucky?
A lot. I was lucky to have the support from my colleagues, my friends, and fate. Sincerely, I never thought I was talented. There are a lot more people better than me; they still lack a bit of luck.
With all the support from my beloved people, I believe that the collective strength is vital. After all, the most important is the human factor.
Thank you very much!