President & CEO Le Hong Thuy Tien - a distinguished guest speaker at World Knowledge Forum 2022

24 - 09 - 2022

President & CEO Le Hong Thuy Tien was honored to receive an invitation from the Secretary General of ASEAN-Korea CENTER to speak at the 23rd World Knowledge Forum (WKF) held from September 20 to 22, 2022 in Seoul, Korea with the theme: Supercompensation, Restoring Global Prosperity and Freedom.

Participating as speakers this year at WKF were experts, politicians and leaders of well-known world corporations such as former British Prime Minister David Cameron, 24th former French President Francois Hollande, Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, Professor of Economics at Graduate Institute (Switzerland) Richard Baldwin, Director of US Department of Energy Kerry Cheung, Head of Banking Division Asia-Pacific, HSBC Jonathan Drew... Especially this year with the participation of speakers who have won the ASEAN Entrepreneur Award 2021 such as Mrs. Le Hong Thuy Tien – President & CEO of Imex Pan Pacific Group (IPPG) along with more than 2000 Korean and international businesses.

Covid-19 has had an impact on world business such as supply chains, fiscal policies, working methods, personal consumption behavior... The ASEAN-Korea Center and the World Knowledge Forum have organized a forum to assess the post-pandemic business environment in ASEAN region and the relationship between ASEAN and Korea.

Business women Le Hong Thuy Tien – President & CEO of Imex Pan Pacific Group is one of the noticeable speakers at this forum.

Mrs. Le Hong Thuy Tien - a guest speaker at World Knowledge Forum 2022

Below is the entire content of Mrs. Thuy Tien shared at the forum:

- According to the ASEAN Development Outlook (ADO) published by ASEAN Secretariat in July 2021. ASEAN was taking a stride to become a 4th largest economy following the US, China and the EU before the pandemic crisis. From an entrepreneur’s perspective, what do you think are the core elements that are needed for ASEAN firms to become key players in the world economy?

President & CEO TT: ASEAN is one of the most dynamically developing regions in the world with a total GDP of USD 3.3 trillion in 2021, and ASEA's economy also brings practical benefits to 680 million people. There are many factors for ASEAN businesses to become key players in the world economy, I would like to mentioned a few points:

- Leverage the power of data and technology to win the borderless economy. Focus on developing solutions that are sustainable and lead the energy transition. Expansion of operations through organic growth, alliances and M&A. Put speed and agility at the heart of your business. ASEAN businesses need to behave while dealing with international partners by joining their flows and networks, providing what ASEAN needs. There are many uniqueness in the world and not all markets are the same. We should consider and respect each market to achieve the success.

- Pandemic has been a threat to the world economy, and has brought about tremendous changes to our daily lives. Could you tell us how your company established strategies for the growth in the post- Covid 19 era?

President & CEO TT: After every storm comes a rainbow. Whether you are prepared to harvest the luck of that rainbow, completely depends on your ability to strategize on how to navigate the storm. When the pandemic hit, we adapted like everyone else. We took the quarantine policies seriously, shut down 25 offices and 1200 stores and work online and remotely. At that time, the IPPG ‘s BOD had decided a strategy: to balance the Group growth rate and protect profits after the pandemic. We had prioritize arranging for all staff to get vaccinated, minimize the termination of labor contracts with well trained employees in the fashion retail business, F&B... as well trained staff is difficult to recruit and retrain, try to earn revenue by via online methods, digital chanel, e-commerce, facebook, digital social network… ,keep in touch, take care and serve customers via email, sms… by sending continuous news on market trends, new collections arrival, limited & exclusive products with photos, video from our 108 exclusive distribution brands for Vietnam market. with that strategy and quick action plan in three months of social distancing period, IPPG still earned 35% of total revenue compared to before the epidemic thanks to luxury goods segment such as high-end watches, jewelries, clothes... We also started to negotiate and discuss effectively with related parties for any possible business supports and maximum cost reduction. With the right direction & strategies, when Vietnam opened up, social distancing period was over, we had enough resources to get back to business immediately, without wasting time "taking steps” so we recovered and grew spectacularly after the Covid period.

Besides, by accepting the reality of the pandemic, IPPG also noticed many market "holes & new opportunities", especially when the aviation industry was greatly affected, leading to the disruption of supply chain, the cost of air freight was skyrocketed, causing series of difficulties for import & export enterprises and destabilize the economy. 

That is the reason for IPP Air Cargo and Bellazio Logistics to be born. IPP Aircargo is one of the first cargo airlines in Vietnam. Accompanied by an expert -invested logistics system, supporting the professionalization of the supply chain system, contributing to solve the problem of supply chain disruption both in Vietnam and in the World.

Thanks to the government's rapid national vaccination strategy, Vietnam has overcome the social distancing situation in the early stages and become one of the earliest countries to open up to the world, and businesses like us can get back to normal business activities immediately after the epidemic. And thanks to the last few months, the government has controlled gasoline prices, controlled inflation, and the retail prices of food and essential products began to decline, because of that, GDP in the second quarter increased by 7.72% and the third quarter is expected to be higher (According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam).

Mrs. Thuy Tien and Mr. Kim Hae-Yong - Secretary General of the ASEAN-Korea Centre

- ASEAN is very special to Korea. Cultural exchange between 2 regions including the Korean wave has been particularly impactful. In this vein, Korea needs a “New strategy” for ASEAN to become true friend and a companion of ASEAN for the mutual prosperity and the strengthen relationship. What advice would you give to Korea to become close friends with ASEAN in business perspective?

President & CEO TT: There is no doubt that Vietnam and Korea have been close friends for many years, Korea is Vietnam's third largest bilateral trade partner, with bilateral trade reaching a record high of 80.7 billion VND. USD in 2021 despite Covid 19. In the first seven months of 2022, Korea ranked 2nd among 72 countries investing in Vietnam with a total investment of nearly 3.3 billion USD. On July 30, 2022, during a dialogue between the Prime Minister of Vietnam, the Ambassador of the Republic of Korea and representatives of the Korean Business Association, the parties all aimed for the trade turnover between Vietnam and Korea to reach 100 billion USD by 2023. As the Prime Minister of Vietnam said, Vietnam wants Korean businesses to strengthen links and create conditions for Vietnamese businesses to participate in the product supply chain, contributing to soon turn Vietnam into the center of the value chain in the region and the World. To achieve that goal, not only with Vietnam, if Korean businesses want to be close friends with ASEAN, I think Korea should understand the cultures of ASEAN (as you did with Vietnam), understand our business conducts, the bureaucracy, the needs of the population and in turn, teach us yours. This is how Korea can start creating its strategy. On the contrary, Korea should also share with us about its development process and strategy. Cultural exchange can establish the foundation, but the important process for development is economic exchange, sharing what Korea has learned regarding the economic development from a developing country to developed country. We will implement that strategy for the domestic market with consultants, with Korean partners and technology from your country. If we can do that, it will not only help to fulfill the national targets but also help promoting commercial business of Korea.

- According to World Economic Forum, women had been more affected by the pandemic than men did. Moreover, it is expected that the equal opportunities between genders will not likely to be achieved even after the pandemic. As a women business leader, what do you think is the role of firms to improve the level of gender equality in ASEAN countries (or in Vietnam in particular)?

President & CEO TT: IPPG has signed and implemented the principle of the UN Women's Empowerment, and we also make gender equality a strong message for employees and all other businesses. IPPG has always been one of Vietnam top 10 sustainable development enterprises. IPPG considers employees a valuable asset, corporate culture is the foundation of business development. There is always a way to help employees to be happier, more creative and contribute to society. This is the principle that IPPG aims to.


With her achievements in working for equality and career development for women, Mrs. Le Hong Thuy Tien was previously awarded:” female leader in the implementation of the commitment to equal rights” by the United Nations Women's Organization; Third-class Labor Medal awarded by the Vietnam President; along with many other awards ...

The World Knowledge Forum is organized by the ASEAN-Korea Center and Maekung Media Corporation. This is an intergovernmental organization authorized to promote economic cooperation between 10 ASEAN member countries and Korea. World Knowledge Forum is held annually with speakers who are experts from famous universities, entrepreneurs and politicians such as: Bill Gates, Jack Ma, Former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair...