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Vietnamese engineer leaves big city behind to found startup in island hometown

Saturday, June 01, 2019, 18:57 GMT+7
Vietnamese engineer leaves big city behind to found startup in island hometown
Doan Trung Hau pumps oxygen into the plastic bag containing pet fish in Ly Son island of central Vietnam. Photo: Tr. Mai / Tuoi Tre

A young engineer decided to leave his big city job to found a startup in his tiny hometown on an island off the central province of Quang Ngai.

When Duong Trung Hau, a 26-year-old radio electrical engineer, left a well-paid job in Ho Chi Minh City to collect fish on a tiny island, his family didn’t know what to think. 

Now, just two years later, Hau boasts the largest ornamental fish farm on Ly Son Island off the coast of Quang Ngai. 

After graduating from the Ho Chi Minh Posts and Telecommunications Institute of Technology, Hau found a job in his field of study earning VND15 million (US$650), a decent living in Vietnam, but in 2017 he realized his passions lie elsewhere.

Despite disapproval form his family, Hau gave up his job to return to his hometown on Ly Son Island to forge his own path.

“There is no place like home, so I wanted to start and develop my own business here on Ly Son,” Trung Hau said.

Hau applied for a vacancy at a local radio station to earn money he could put towards his dream and realized the potential an ornamental fish farm might have.

Doan Trung Hau cleans his fish tank in Ly Son island of central Vietnam. Photo: Tr. Mai / Tuoi Tre
Doan Trung Hau cleans his fish tank in Ly Son island of central Vietnam. Photo: Tr. Mai / Tuoi Tre

It wasn’t long before his first failure hit. Shortly after starting his farm, all of his fish died and he lost nearly VND100 million ($4,350). But he didn’t give up. 

He gave the farm another shot and eventually found a method of raising fish that ensured their sustainability.

After securing several large businesses as customers, he began to rake in the cash and now owns the largest fish farm on the island.

Hau’s fish tank not only earns him income, but it allows him to provide jobs for others on the island.

“Thanks to him we have a chance to earn money for our families,” said Pham Van Dinh, a 55-year-old fisherman in Hau’s diving group.

To help add value to the fish, Hau gives each species luxurious names, such as Hoang De (The Emperor), Be Vang (Golden Calf) and so on.

Hau also doesn’t hesitate to share that competition is the least of his worries.

“If everyone starts a pet fish business, I’ll let them have it and pursue my other dreams,” said the ambitious young man.

A photo of a small pet fish named Hoang De (The Emperor) in Ly Son island of central Vietnam. Photo: Tr. Mai / Tuoi Tre
A photo of a small pet fish named Hoang De (The Emperor) in Ly Son island of central Vietnam. Photo: Tr. Mai / Tuoi Tre

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