“Coffee King’s Queen” of Vietnam on Forbes Asia magazine
In 2012, her husband – Mr. Dang Le Nguyen Vu – appeared on Forbes with the nickname “King Coffee. And now, Ms. Le Hoang Diep Thao has become the main character with her new brand: “Coffee King” – King Coffee.
The story of the “Queen” of Trung Nguyen
With the title pun “Coffee King’s Queen”, the article in Forbes magazine described Ms. Diep Thao as “the CEO of the emerging King Coffee brand. in Vietnam is indeed a remarkable business model”.
The coffee products of Mrs. Diep Thao are present in more than 60 countries, the first year revenue is up to 60 million USD. TNI King Coffee factory 40 miles from Ho Chi Minh City (about 64km) was inaugurated in April 2017 and has resonated in the business world in Vietnam.
In the long story shared on Forbes, many interesting things after the success of Trung Nguyen Group are revealed. Accordingly, Ms. Thao met Mr. Vu in 1994, when he was in Buon Ma Thuot – the coffee capital of Vietnam. Her family supported the initial funding to open the original cafe named Trung Nguyen. The two got married in 1998 and quickly developed Trung Nguyen to become the leading coffee brand in Vietnam. Ms. Thao is also responsible for running all activities and working with her husband to develop development strategies.
Ms. Thao role is to oversee international activities. She opened a coffee shop in Singapore, where she founded Trung Nguyen International and later TNI Corporation – the parent company of King Coffee.
When marriage is in trouble, exports are also affected. Therefore, she launched the King Coffee brand in the United States, before entering the domestic market, with the desire “King Coffee will fulfill my dream of building a strong Vietnamese brand”. . . Her expectation is to build a Vietnamese brand of global stature, on par with multinational corporations in the world.
Not competing but accompanying for the Vietnamese brand
Currently, she is operating two factories, one in Bac Giang – also the place that produces instant coffee with the G7 brand. The rest is in Binh Duong province – invested in a production group with the brand name King Coffee.
With Trung Nguyen’s own success is the necessary foundation for her to build her own business. However, with the King Coffee brand – Ms. Thao does not consider competing with Trung Nguyen as a top priority. “I have no intention of competing with Trung Nguyen Group. I want Trung Nguyen to continue to be successful with King Coffee” – Ms. Thao shared.
General assessment of the potential of Vietnam’s coffee industry, Forbes magazine said: For many years, Vietnam has been the world’s second largest coffee producer – after Brazil, and today accounts for a 1/5 of the total supply. global level. When Forbes Asia magazine interviewed Mr. Vu in 2012, he was at the top of Vietnam’s $3.5 billion export market at the moment. But Vietnam didn’t get there again because to harvest loss and falling coffee prices.
Producers like Mr. Vu and Ms. Thao are always concerned to optimize the value of Vietnamese coffee in the face of many difficulties in processing technology. Statistics in the past 5 years show that 95% of exported coffee is raw coffee, as opposed to 5% that has undergone transformation. As an example of this problem, Starbucks entered the Vietnamese market in 2013 – when it launched Dalat Blend, a line of Vietnamese processed coffee products to the world. A 250-gram bag costs $12.50, or 20 times more than local beans.
Among domestic business goods, only a few big names dominate coffee retail such as: Trung Nguyen (recently has a store named Legend); Vinacafe (now owned by Masan Group) and Nestlé’s Nescafé. At its peak in 2012, Trung Nguyen Group owned 5 factories and a chain of 40 coffee shops. In rare appearances before the press, Mr. Vu spoke about the combination of philosophy and commerce in coffee recipes.
Deal with challenges and constant changes in the market, Ms. Thao is more determined to create King Coffee as a premium brand. “I understand the market very well and I want to develop the Vietnamese coffee industry,” said Ms. Thao. “I want to participate in developing the coffee industry across Vietnam, helping farmers in the system and ensuring the quality of coffee beans. That is a long-term direction with this business.”
Next time, she will take on the role of President of the Vietnam Coffee Association (VICOFA). In addition, she accompanied the Prime Minister and the President of Vietnam on official visits to Japan and the Russian Federation.
Ms. Thao said the challenges energize her. “It is said that after a man’s success is a woman’s shadow. Now the question is can women create their own success? I will try!”