Graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in the US, has worked at a number of Fortune 500 companies and listed on the world’s largest exchange Nasdaq, former CEO of Booking.com Vietnam Tim Duong is remarkable in his new role at Emerging Capital Investment Fund.
Deciding to give up senior positions with “huge” remuneration at reputable corporations to start a business is always a “risky” choice for many people. However, Tim Duong – former CEO of Booking.com Vietnam has a completely opposite view. He believes that the tourism market in Vietnam is a “fertile land”, targeted by many big companies around the world. Therefore, the establishment of Emerging Capital Investment Fund is considered a spectacular step in the career of the 38-year-old CEO. For him, this “brainchild” will be a big “playground” for investors.
Hi Tim Duong,
Known to many as the “captain” of Booking.com Vietnam, what made you decide to give up this desirable position to build an investment empire in the tourism industry: Emerging Capital Group?
- In Vietnam, the real estate market in general and the hotel management industry in particular are considered to be potential and great opportunities to increase value. In my opinion, to achieve this requires breakthrough solutions. I hope that the birth of Emerging Capital Group can support many hotels in all different aspects with innovative solutions and exclusive inventions, especially hotels that are struggling during the COVID period.
What business philosophy from Booking.com do you apply to the operation of the Emerging Capital Group?
- Not only Booking but many travel businesses always have faith in the rise of technology, which contributes to the rapid recovery of Vietnam’s tourism industry. In the 4.0 era, we believe that applying digital solutions plays an important role in restoring tourism activities.
In your opinion, is the decision to establish an investment fund when the global tourism market is still frozen a reckless step? Why?
- Therefore, this time is a “golden” opportunity when establishing an investment fund. Many hotels are inefficient, leading to negative monthly NOI (net operating income).
What do you think is the most important point when running an investment fund?
- From the perspective of Emerging, in my opinion, products and resources are two important factors to form a complete investment fund. Investment funds need good products to attract investors, and the human resources must be highly qualified to evaluate the quality of investment products and effectively run operations.
For a new investment fund like Emerging Capital Group, how to attract investment from the “big guys” in the world?
- I believe that when buying a product we are all interested in the value that the product brings is appropriate to the amount of money we spend. The same goes for investment. To attract investors from the “big guys” in the world, first of all, it is necessary to have a good investment “product”, which can generate profits and high development potential. In addition, Emerging includes a group of world-class advisors, a team of skilled human resources with high expertise and proprietary technology elements that have promoted outstanding efficiency with the projects.
Which aspects of tourism will Emerging Capital Group prioritize investment in?
- From my point of view, the growth potential is outstanding when hotels are attached to real estate. Not because of the profitable cash flows from day-to-day business but the growth in real estate value. If we elevate them to be an investment product that gives good money, then it will attract investors to buy and reinvest in the next life of the asset.
Can you tell us about the vision and ambitions of the Emerging Capital Group fund?
- Our vision is: “Becoming the leading Hotel Management and Investment Fund in Southeast Asia”. Emerging is understood with the meaning of “developing markets”. I believe that in the near future, with features and product goals that are especially suitable for markets like Southeast Asia, Emerging Capital Group Hotel Management and Investment Fund will quickly rise to the top.
In the future, how do you predict the “evolution” of technology applications in the field of tourism?
- We can see that everything has changed very quickly during the recent COVID period. The advent of technology applications has completely changed the market layout and can completely replace the big guys. Therefore, it is difficult to predict the future situation. But I believe that technology in any field has a very high competitiveness and substitution compared to manual methods.
How do you assess the potential of Vietnam’s tourism market today?
- Vietnam from the perspective of domestic and foreign investors is always an extremely potential market. During the period of COVID-19, the global tourism industry suffers a severe recession and freeze all activities, but Vietnam is considered the safest country with domestic tourism growth thanks to good disease control from the government. This makes Vietnam more attractive and interested by international friends. I believe that in the coming time, when the epidemic is stabilized, Vietnam’s growth rate can make a remarkable breakthrough.
What strategies should domestic tourism startups have to catch up with trends and seize the opportunity to reach out to the region?
- In my opinion, the first thing needed in the development strategy of start-ups is to find similarities with other markets. A strategy works best when it’s in the right market, where the needs of the customer and the product can be compatible.
Thank you for your interesting sharing!