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Will Vietnamese 30 Under 30 Help Their Country?

Taking a group selfie are 30 of the accomplished Vietnamese business leaders under 30 years old highlighted by Forbes. (Lien Hoang for VOA News)

Taking a group selfie are 30 of the accomplished Vietnamese business leaders under 30 years old highlighted by Forbes. (Lien Hoang for VOA News)

Each year, the U.S. business magazine Forbes reports on young people seen as the best and most creative of their generation.

Recently, Forbes hosted the first “Forbes Under 30” conference in Vietnam. The meeting honored Vietnamese business leaders under age 30 who are making a difference in technology and other areas.

Some speakers at the event said Vietnam’s future depends on the efforts of young people there and how they apply technology. For instance, U.S. pop music singer Katy Perry, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations, said she is hopeful for Vietnam's future.

“I’m told you are also the lead generation in innovation, which means you can find solutions that never existed before,” she said.

But some older speakers wondered if young Vietnamese care more about luxury cars and Facebook than about helping the country succeed.

“When you live in a peaceful time, you have everything, you have all the opportunity,” former ambassador Ton Nu Thi Ninh said. “But the challenge is, can you identify your dream? If you live in that comfort zone, you don’t know what you can do for your country.”

Ms. Ninh also praised young people in the country for accepting technology and exploring what it can do. Electronic products are Vietnam’s top exports. Large companies Samsung and Intel are increasingly producing more goods in Vietnam. More than one-third of the population is online, and at least one-fifth has a smartphone.

Technology stars in Vietnam

Many of Forbes’ young Vietnamese business leaders include those in the technology world. Nguyen Ha Dong created the popular mobile phone application Flappy Bird. Pham Le Nguyen co-founded the technology business 5Desire, which helps build the next generation of successful companies.

More than half of Vietnam’s 90 million people are under 30 years old. One of those young people is Nguyen Trung Tin. He is the chief executive officer of Trung Thuy Group, a real estate and tourism company. Mr. Tin says one problem he faces is that many of the people who work for him are older than he is.

“The challenge is, of course, how to learn from those people, but at the same time how to manage them effectively,” Mr. Tin said.

Some of the women on the Forbes list of top business leaders deal with a different kind of problem.

Le Hoang Uyen Vy says it is common in Vietnam to ask, “Are you married yet?” rather than, “Are you married?” She started the online company Chon before being hired as vice president of VinEcom, an e-commerce website owned by Vietnam’s only billionaire.

She says, “Before, when friends met me, they’d say, ‘When will you get married?’ But after I joined VinEcom, they asked, ‘How is VinEcom?’ They don’t ask about my marriage life anymore.”

Conference shows strength of US-Vietnam relationship

U.S. Ambassador Ted Osius also spoke at the conference. He reminded the audience that this year the U.S. is celebrating 20 years of normalized relations with Vietnam. Many of the Forbes honorees studied in the United States. They do business with U.S. partners, or work with Americans on social, environmental and other issues.

Mr. Osius said the professionals on the “30 Under 30” list show how the U.S. and Vietnam are developing a strong relationship and creating positive effects.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

Lien Hoang reported this story from Ho Chi Minh City. Jonathan Evans adapted it for Learning English. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.


Words in This Story

audience – n. the people who watch, read, or listen to something

luxury – n. a condition or situation of great comfort, ease, and wealth; often used before another noun

real estate – n. property consisting of buildings and land

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