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In pursuit of perfection

Released at: 08:53, 16/11/2019

In pursuit of perfection

Photos: VET Magazine

Any task Madam Thai Huong takes on is executed as flawlessly as possible, with her TH dairy farm being a prime example.

Madam Thai Huong, General Director of Bac A Bank and Founder of the TH Group, received a prestigious award just recently: ASEAN Power Businesswoman. People often refer to her as the “fresh milk woman” or, indeed, a “powerful businesswoman”, but she prefers to be simply known as “Thai Huong”. Her name has become a major brand in itself and associated with Bac A Bank, a revolution in Vietnam’s dairy industry with the TH Group, the opening of TH School, and an international-quality medical complex now under construction. 

Miracles from the power of a mother

Though not the first time Madam Thai Huong has been named “Power Businesswoman”, she was nonetheless happy and excited to attend the World Knowledge Forum 2019 in South Korea and receive the award. 

Ten years ago, Madam Thai Huong began investing in clean and fresh milk in Vietnam and declared that she had no true competitor. She did not choose a path similar to other businesses by importing milk powder but instead chose to import cattle, growing grass, raising the herd, and processing milk. No one believed that she could do it when she first set out.

But she has created a fresh milk revolution in Vietnam. Ten years ago, 92 per cent of the country’s liquid milk market came from milk powder that was then reconstituted, but the proportion has now fallen to 60 per cent. It has not only been a revolution in fresh milk but also in transparency in the dairy market.

She has also built a woodchip plant and a clean fruit and vegetable farm, and produced the herbal drink TH true Herbal, the natural fermented maltdrink TH true MALT, the pure water TH true WATER and TH true NUT milk. These efforts have been carried out in the provinces of Nghe An, Lam Dong, Ha Giang, Thai Binh, and Phu Yen. Whatever kitchens may need, TH works towards providing it. Madam Thai Huong is also a pioneer in laying the foundations for high-tech agriculture in Vietnam.

When asked “Where does your power come from and why do you do take on such tasks?”, she replies it is thanks to the power of a mother. “People often think that women in business face many disadvantages because they have to strike a balance between work and family,” she explained. “However, I think that being a woman, especially a mother, is a great advantage for businesswomen. Nothing compares to the power of a mother.”

In 2008, when a melamine-contaminated milk scandal broke out in China, she was concerned about her children. After just one night of thought, she decided she could delay no longer and had to begin producing international-standard fresh milk in and for Vietnam. Then, over the years, came the process of producing nut milk, pure water, fruit and vegetables, rice, and fish sauce, opening a school, and building a high-tech medical complex in Hanoi, construction of which got underway on October 14. “Being a mother and an entrepreneur, I take care of everything with a mother’s heart,” she said. “At the TH Group, I built three key factors in bringing true happiness to Vietnamese people: food, education, and healthcare. It all comes from the concern of a mother towards her children.”

She chose to do business with the heart of a mother and used the power of a mother to overcome difficulties, to perform miracles. Not everyone can do that. “When a mother does something for her child, she never finds it difficult, nothing can stop her. My heart has only endless passion and happiness,” Madam Thai Huong smiled. 

Perfection always

It’s interesting how people at TH love and admire Madam Thai Huong. Their only “criticism”, perhaps, is that she always requires perfection. “They are right - I always aim for perfection,” she agreed. “My quest for perfection doesn’t allow me to neglect any stage in the process of production. Products must not only be perfect in quality but also in image, giving consumers the most beautiful of feelings.”

In order to provide a perfect glass of fresh milk, from the beginning she did something unprecedented. In addition to inviting experts and Israeli farmers to transfer technology, she also applied science in the management of cattle and veterinary science from major foreign partners such as Afimilk (Israel), Totally Vets (New Zealand), and SAP (Germany). The combination of high technology and synchronous management science means that even the smallest of errors are detected immediately, controlling cost, quality, and fresh milk production. 

However, Madam Thai Huong said that in advanced countries, anyone can apply high-tech science, technology 4.0, and management science. “To create a perfect glass of fresh milk, therefore, requires more than this; it requires the heart of a mother,” she affirmed. 

She demands attention and meticulousness in each stage. Every cow is carefully selected, yards are designed to be spacious and airy, and cows are tagged with chips, played music, and eat Mombasa grass, corn plants, and sunflowers. At TH true Mart stores, she also paid careful attention to everything, such as each shelf being aesthetically-pleasing with products of the highest quality. “Such fuss aims to create perfection in every drop of TH milk,” she said. “Because of this pursuit of perfection, the taste of TH fresh milk is always special and never mixed with other types of milk. This is the spirit of a milk producer.” 

Perfection is not only applied in dairy products but also in other endeavors, like the fields of education and medicine. TH School is equipped with the best study conditions available. The under-construction medical complex will also be equipped with the most modern machinery and equipment found in the world and staffed by the best doctors and medical specialists. It will be an electronic hospital, helping detect and control disease and illness early on, and include a five-star general hospital and nursing center. “Foreign medical specialists have said that my medical complex is a haven of modern medicine,” Madam Thai Huong said proudly. 

Brave steps “from a dairy farm to the world”

It is rare for a woman to be as brave and assertive as Madam Thai Huong. She boldly accepted the risks when choosing her homeland - Nghe An province - for the dairy farm. Many even said she was being reckless, as agriculture poses so many risks. Time, though, has proven her move into high-tech agriculture and producing perfect fresh milk to be a smart and courageous choice. Her achievements on the province’s Phu Quy plateau, where the climate can be harsh, fills her with a sense of pride at building a “dairy capital”. Ten years on, any talk of dairy cattle in Vietnam will immediately invoke thoughts of Phu Quy plateau, in the same way the central highlands comes to mind when discussing coffee. The TH farm is Asia’s largest concentrated dairy farm.

After visiting the farm, Russian leaders warmly welcomed her $2.7 billion project on dairy farming and milk processing in the country. Again, many believed it was too risky to step out into the world with such a project. But she invested in Russia because of her love for the country and her realization of the great potential it held. “I am an entrepreneur. Though true happiness is the most important thing in my business philosophy rather than profit, I saw business opportunities in Russia,” she explained. At that time, she went on, Russia faced an embargo and lacked milk, but had the large land area needed for dairy farming and policies to make it successful.

After Russia, she is now preparing to expand to Australia. While she chose to produce milk in Russia because it was in short supply, in Australia she has chosen to grow cotton and almonds. Yet again, the bravery and strategy of businesswoman Thai Huong is confirmed. She is also preparing to send TH’s first fresh milk products to China. This is a huge turning point for her and her company. “From the very beginning, I wanted to send Vietnamese milk to the world,” she said. “In Russia, our TH true MILK was well received. In China, after the melamine incident, they strictly control the quality of all milk products, so TH’s perfect milk products are certain to find favor in the country.”

Vietnam being right next door to China and its 1.4 billion people is a wonderful natural advantage in sending TH milk over the border. “I always tell my staff to please respect Mother Nature, who gives us everything,” she said. None of her choices in business have been a source of regret, and for that she always feels truly happy. 

"At the TH Group, I built three key factors in bringing true happiness to Vietnamese people: food, education, and healthcare. It all comes from the concern of a mother towards her children. When a mother does something for her child, she never finds it difficult, nothing can stop her. My heart has only endless passion and happiness.”
Madam Thai Huong, General Director of Bac A Bank and Founder of the TH Group

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