Nguyen Duc Ninh: Stay Calm in the Storm

(Record Vietkings) It is said that the afternoon is the autumn of the day and the autumn is the afternoon of the year. But, to this man, the autumn of that year was the dawn of life when his career entered a whole new chapter.

At barely 26 years ago, a diligent civil servant with a bright future, he boldly quit and decided to set up a private company built on his desire, devotion and curiosity. During more than 20 years of ups and downs with both successes and failures, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Executive Officer of Binh Minh Trading Co., Ltd, he has led his company higher and higher, with ever more business lines. At present, his company has been recognised by the Vietnam Records Association (VietKings) as “The first private company allowed to do business in domestic and international telecom networks transmitted from the United States to Vietnam through satellite.” Moreover, his company was also known as “The first private company of Vietnam to win a lawsuit in the telecom industry and receive compensation from a US company through international arbitration.

His work and his devotion bring success and pride not only to him and Binh Minh Trading Co., Ltd, but also to the Vietnamese business community and entrepreneurs in general. This is the story of a record breake; Nguyen Duc Ninh.

 

Mr. Nguyen Duc Ninh, the second one from left

 

KEY TURNING POINT

In the 1990s when Vietnam's economy was underdeveloped, with State monopoly and corporate monopoly in some business sectors, with his experience and regular contacts with advanced economies, Ninh saw that one of the major shortfalls of the domestic telecom industry was higher service charges compared to the region and the rest of the world. This not only caused damage to consumers, but also left huge disadvantages on businesses and the economy of Vietnam.

With a good market sense, Nguyen Duc Ninh shifted to telecommunications business. It is impossible to describe all his hardships, difficulties and challenges over four straight years, sometimes with the fear of failure, when he asked for investment licence. At that point, no company had dared to step into a State monopolistic industry like that. But with his intelligence and the passion of an entrepreneur who always put community interests above all, a BCC joint venture set up by Universal Telecom Services Company (USA), Vietnam Maritime Communications and Electronics LLC, and Binh Minh Trading Co., Ltd was licensed by the Ministry of Planning and Investment, thus opening up a new chapter for the Vietnamese telecom services sector. Ninh served as the CEO of the joint venture.

Consumers benefited the most from the operation of the joint venture. Telephone and internet service charge was reduced to some 30-35 cents per minute from 60 cents at that time. This groundbreaking joint venture also created a level, competitive playground for domestic and foreign telecom services firms. And, beneficiaries of such healthy competition are the society.

It was noteworthy that in the early 21st century when the fibre-optic telecommunications lines broke, entire domestic and international communications were transferred to satellite transmissions operated by the BCC joint venture. That salvation helped the society and domestic and foreign businesses avoid significant losses because of interrupted communications. This also created a new position for the Vietnamese telecommunications sector.

WILLPOWER

"The marketplace is like a battlefield" and business is profitable but risky. And, the company led by Entrepreneur Nguyen Duc Ninh was not out of that cycle. At the same time, two companies in the tripartite joint venture sued Binh Minh Trading Co., Ltd in a Singapore court for economic disputes. That was an inevitable risk in a market economy when working with partners only in search of profit. They willingly disregarded business ethics and deliberately exploited loopholes and weaknesses of their partner to lodge lawsuits seeking the highest profit for their sides. Facing the risk of losing everything, not only his money but also his honour and his career which he had painstakingly built up for years, Entrepreneur Nguyen Duc Ninh showed his calibre as a business leader who shrewdly led his company out of trouble.

SELF-AFFIRMATION

Over nearly six years, or some 2,000 days, with numerous challenges, difficulties and obstacles, Binh Minh Trading Company eventually won the lawsuit filed by a notorious suit-specialist company from the United States. Impressively, Ninh directly disputed against world-class lawyers hired by the plaintiff. In March 2014, the court issued a verdict with a victory for Ninh and his company.

Entrepreneur Nguyen Duc Ninh fully deserves the honour of being named in the Vietnam Book of Records by the Vietnam Records Association for his groundbreaking contributions to the development of telecommunications industry in particular and Vietnam’s economy in general. Notably, the victory in the lawsuit against a US-based company has created strong confidence among Vietnamese businesses as they join the global market and economy. Lessons learned from this case will be invaluable assets for us in the future when Vietnam engages in regional and international disputes.

HOANG MAI

 

 

         

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