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Tuning In | Trung Hoang Nguyen on breaking into the Vietnamese delivery scene

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Trung Hoang Nguyen, CEO of Loship, wants his firm to become the first Vietnamese startup to go public on the NYSE.

Trung Hoang Nguyen is the CEO of Vietnam-based delivery service Loship. The firm was born in 2017 as a delivery service part of e-commerce startup Lozi, founded by Nguyen. Currently, Loship is Lozi’s main business. In 2017, Nguyen was nominated in Vietnam’s list of Forbes 30 under 30, after which, in 2020, he was nominated in the main Asian list of Forbes 30 under 30. Trung studied at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and also worked as a software engineer at Microsoft.

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

KrASIA (Kr): Why did you decide to launch Loship? 

Trung Hoang Nguyen (THN): Lozi was similar to review site Yelp. We officially set up the company in 2014 to connect buyers and sellers, but three years later, we realized the model was difficult to monetize, and the scale potential wasn’t obvious. We had to do something else—something where we could see people doing actual transactions. With Lozi, transactions were not transparent, as we couldn’t see if they were completed outside of our platform. Vietnam is a country of motorbikes, so we looked into starting a delivery business, and we executed the idea of Loship. With this vertical, we had more control over our platform and the transactions happening on it.

Kr: What was it like to break into the e-commerce and delivery industry in Vietnam in 2017? 

THN: Right now, Vietnam might be a hot space for e-commerce and startups, as many venture capital firms are pouring money into the country. Three or four years ago, though, Vietnam was an unknown market. It was difficult for us to determine the potential of the market, especially for investors. The concept of a startup was also new back then, and it wasn’t easy to bring people on. Workers had expectations of traditional roles in multinational corporations, so we had to find the right people who could adapt to the startup culture. There were also competitors who had a lot of capital from outside of Vietnam. We had to envision our journey so we could stand up against them.

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