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VietJet's Bikini Airline, OMG

Updated on March 31, 2016
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Vietnam's first billionaire woman
Vietnam's first billionaire woman

Vietnam certainly has come a long way, baby, since 1975, when America’s longest war ended. While many think the 55,000 US lives killed in the war was a waste, from the ashes of this war, capitalism did grow among the communist jungle that took over. Just little shoots of capitalism have succeeded beyond wildest dreams.

In 1988, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, was a young woman living in Moscow as a second year student. She was studying finance and economics. With little money, she started a business on credit from business suppliers in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea. The merchandise was sold in Russia. She was successful, making her first million by 1991. She was 21. Her mother was a teacher and her dad, a pharmacist. Her business did not start with a lot of money, but lots of credit from suppliers that trusted her with results. Then, she started trading in steel, machinery and commodities.

When Vietnam opened up their economy to a “market” economy, in 1986, she started thinking about starting an airline to compete against the esteemed, Vietnam Airlines.

Today, she is 45, and according Bloomberg, her worth is $1 billion because of her VietJet Airline and real estate in Dragon City, a 65 hectare development in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon). She owns 95% of the airline, which accounts for 30% of the travel market there. The airline revenue reached $488 dollars. It flies to 47 locations including Seoul, Thailand, and Singapore. Her real estate holdings are 90% and has three resorts, one in Da Nang, Nha Trang and Lam Ninh. She also has 20% holdings in HD Bank, that has assets of $4.6 billion and employs 10,000 in 225 branches.

But it is her bikini airline that is stirring so much interest. Its flight attendants where bikinis when their flights have beach destinations! Some think this this sexist in this politically correct world, but not this woman. It’s all about dominating airline news and free advertisements as it spreads around the world. It’s all about becoming the biggest airline in Asia and Vietnam. Customers seem to love it- well, especially the men, anyway!

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    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 14 months ago from California

      Wow! Perhaps nice eye candy, but does this mean the cabin has to be extra warm? Did a flight once San Francisco to Paris and the cabin was sweltering, ranked up there with one on a c141 out of Guam where it was snowing inside the cabin. Love this women's grasp of free market. Who owns the other 5%.

    • perrya profile image
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      perrya 14 months ago

      It is amazing what came out from the Vietnam War, who would have thought...

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