A Vietnamese man has been successful in developing a high-turnover set of shops in Laos after recognizing enormous business potential in an area that still mainly relies on an agricultural economy.
Do Van Dung, 30, owns multiple well-known shops that specialize in repairing and selling mobile phones and household appliances across Sanamxay, a district of Attapeu Province in southeastern Laos.
Dung had made several attempts in employment before settling on a path that brings him wealth.
Upon graduating from college, the man from the northern Vietnamese province of Ninh Binh worked at different banks in Vietnam but he found himself incompetent in the jobs.
He cooperated with his sibling to operate an interior decoration firm in their rural hometown, and the market plunged into the doldrums just when their business was beginning to experience an upswing.
Discouraged, he lived in financial hardship and let his life drift with vague aims until he paid a visit five years ago to his brother and sister who were living in Sanamxay, a small area with few large concrete buildings apart from government ones on the skyline.
At the time the elder siblings were already running thriving factories and stores there.
Dung realized that in 2013 the local commercial activity was on the rise as residents from neighboring countryside areas increasingly gravitated to the district for purchases while the place had few services for the demand.
He quickly grabbed at the chance, deciding to learn how to fix telephones and household appliances himself before asking for advice from his sister, who owns a department store there, and borrowing seed money for his business foray.
He built shops repairing electronic items and later transformed them into those with trading and fixing purposes.
He also operates variety stores at a major crossroads in Sanamxay and manages a shop for repairing television sets, refrigerators and electronic equipment.
“Laotians aren’t so good at doing business as Vietnamese people. Here every store opens early in the morning and closes at 4:00 pm, even if there’re many customers. This puts us at an advantage,” Dung said.
A secret to his achievement is the trust built in customers.
“Laotian people are friendly. They regard Vietnamese people as brothers and sisters, which is the attitude everyone from Vietnam can recognize," he said.
“That’s why if you want to succeed, you have to treat them well, with love and respect, and avoid selling low-quality products.”