For 30 years, rising from humble beginnings, Mr. Võ Mậu Quốc Triển has embraced quality and integrity as the guiding principles in building and developing Rita Võ as a leading brand in the premium construction materials and furniture industry in Vietnam. Rita Võ as a leading brand in the premium construction materials and furniture industry in Vietnam.
Has never boasted about his accomplishments, the Chairman of Rita Võ Group - Mr Vo Mau Quoc Trien - chooses to dedicate himself quietly to delivering quality products. With his straightforwardness and open-mindedness, characteristics of people from Quang Ngai, spending over two hours chatting with him is an exciting and enlightening experience, starting with the perspectives and visions of an entrepreneur who has built his empire from zero.
- Which milestones have left the most inspiration for you throughout a 24-year journey since the company's establishment?
- Over two decades of building the company, no specific milestones stand out or leave the strongest impression on me because every breakthrough carries its own emotions and meanings. My perspective is to focus on minor things. For example, today we did well on a particular little thing, then tomorrow we will do another better. Eventually, everything is improved.
I believe that everything has to follow a sequence. Whatever is good and advantageous should be continuously developed, rather than adopting the “jackfruit economy” - everything is thorny, but none is sharp.
For instance, in construction materials and high-end furniture, I am confident to confirm that Rita Võ is the dominant brand in Vietnam. We already have 23 largest centers in Vietnam, and I believe that all international corporations expanding into Vietnam will desire to have their products distributed through the Rita Võ system.
- Rita Võ Group is an exclusive distributor partner of Kohler - a leading global brand in providing kitchen and bathroom solutions. At that time, what did you do to persuade Kohler to choose Rita Võ as the exclusive representative in the Vietnamese market despite other regions usually being presented by two representatives?
- Next year marks the 150th anniversary of Kohler, one of the oldest privately-held corporations in the world. Besides Kohler, Rita Võ Group has also been a strategic partner with several brands among the 20 largest global private corporations such as Miele, Simmons, etc.
I was determined to persuade Kohler after a business trip abroad when I saw the hotels that supplied Kohler’s sanitary and bathroom fittings were exceptionally clean and beautiful. Nearly 20 years ago, communication was not as convenient as it is now. We had to send faxes from the US to Singapore, and then to Vietnam. At that time, Rita Võ did not have a showroom but a lack of capital and experience.
Being chosen by a large international corporation while I still had nothing substantial yet was quite remarkable but I was confident that I am able to meet all of their requirements as an exclusive partner. When Kohler asked what I had, I showed them the words “integrity” and “quality”, which have been Rita Võ’s business principles over the last 24 years.
- Do you think it is lucky to be chosen by a large corporation at a time when the brand has nothing in hand?
- I do not think it is a matter of luck. Without experience or reputation, I have to carefully prepare other aspects. I take my own brands to Shanghai (China), or Singapore to show my sincerity and determination.
15 years ago, my colleagues and I travelled abroad to convince partners from the United States, Thailand, Singapore, Shanghai (China), Germany, and Italy to allow Rita Võ to become their exclusive distributor. Meanwhile, at the moment, international corporations have set foot in Vietnam wanting to meet me for the gestures to display their products at Rita Võ. Rita Võ has a reputable and top-quality distribution system in Vietnam, and even in the Southeast Asian region.
- In your point of view, what is the reason why Rita Võ is loved by a large number of people?
- I developed my company based on two principles: Integrity and Quality. I am a straightforward person so all my business activities must be transparent, without any deception. I have to ensure that all products from Rita Võ must be clear and precise in terms of origin. If it is from Thailand, it is genuinely from Thailand. If it is manufactured in Malaysia, the label will be Malaysia, and if it is produced in Italy, it is definitely from Italy. There are no such things as "hanging a sheep's head while selling dog meat."
Furthermore, I want to say that the issue of the origin of goods is no longer crucial. Samsung has set up factories in Vietnam, and Apple is bringing iPhone production to Vietnam soon. Therefore, when customers choose a product, they are choosing the brand and its reputation. Regardless of where the product is manufactured, it still has to adhere to global standards and quality.
- Rita Võ has been established and developed for over 20 years now and has gained a secure position in the Vietnamese construction materials and high-end furniture industry. Do you have any plans to expand into the foreign market?
- I would say not at the moment. The potential of the Vietnamese market is incredibly promising and can be considered to be the best in the region currently. A notable aspect of the domestic market is the significant purchasing power and strong commitment of the local population. For example, in the construction materials and housing sector, foreigners may prefer ready-made houses and the flexibility to move elsewhere. However, in Vietnam, people tend to save up to buy land, purchase a house, and build a home for themselves. Therefore, there is a high demand for premium construction materials that are durable and long-lasting. This is an advantage of the Vietnamese market that few other countries can meet.
Over the past 20 years, the retail market has also undergone significant changes. I must admit that the growth rate of various retail sectors, not just construction materials, is astonishing. It is worth noting that many global corporations have entered and are still entering this booming market, indicating the future breakthrough potential of the industry.
- Rita Võ operates 8 business segments with the construction materials and high-end furniture industry being the core. Hence, what is the second major business focus area of the company?
- The company has various sectors and activities depending on market fluctuation but the core business area is still the construction materials and high-end furniture segment, while other business sectors are supplementary.
I believe that business is about fate, and I nurture various ideas that I will execute when the opportunity arises. Shortly, Rita Võ will venture into real estate as a potential subsidiary field. This is a passion that I have been contemplating for not just one, but ten or even twenty years. I want to redefine the concept of luxury apartments. The notion of "high-end" must encompass numerous factors, including location, design, and the quality of construction materials.
- Are you confident that your real estate products will be embraced by consumers?
- I am confident regarding 3 criteria:
First and foremost, when comparing the high-end apartment market in the region and internationally, prices range from $60,000 to $100,000 per square meter in the European market or Singapore, and in Thailand, they reach $20,000 to $30,000 per square meter for truly luxurious properties. In Vietnam, the current price range is around $15,000 to $17,000 per square meter, and I believe that the market will respond well to and absorb products within this price range, on par with neighbouring countries.
Secondly, our guiding principle is to create products that align with Vietnamese culture. To use a metaphor, I know how to compose a meal that suits the Vietnamese appetite, using products with appropriate sizes, designs, and materials that cater to the preferences of domestic consumers. This is the result of years of listening and researching the market by Rita Võ.
Thirdly, we have a vast customer base for the brand. Having over 280 units is not a large number. We have the information of millions of customers who have trusted the brand's quality over the years, and only 1% of them would be enough to fill the supply volume that Rita Vo releases to the market.
- With such a competitive market that includes numerous international rivals, what advantages that Rita Võ conquer to sustain itself in the market?
- We are confident in our distribution system, personnel, and reputation as well as the exclusive partnerships that we have established with many major brands.
The Rita Võ system has ample land reserves for opening showrooms, not relying on any particular land owners. I have been preparing for this for over 20 years. In terms of personnel, we have a team of employees who have been with us for more than 10 years.
Many international partners, such as Kohler, have signed exclusive agreements with Rita Võ. This means that if they want to sell in Vietnam, competitors cannot import products from the brands that we have an exclusive partnership with. We also collaborate with over 30 other brands, most of which are well-known and reputable in the industry.
- You have a team of senior associates who have been with you since the early days. What is the secret to "retaining people" for over a decade?
- I wouldn't call it a secret to retaining people, but rather empowering those below me. Here, people often joke that they would not even leave if they were fired. I think it partly comes from the opportunities that Rita Võ provides to its employees.
The senior staff members have been working with me for more than a decade ever since I was seeking partners abroad. They have always performed remarkably, even better than me. Some manage multiple showrooms, while others oversee the entire Southern region. I feel comfortable giving them the authority to leverage freely. The operations management already has a solid core team. As for myself, I only focus on development tasks, training new personnel, and expanding into new sectors.
- At the moment, many large private corporations worldwide are transitioning to the second generation. How do you assess the success factor in this stage?
- My viewpoint is clear: if my children are not capable, I will let others take over. Rita Võ is the foundation I built with sweat and tears, and my children cannot inherit its benefits easily just because they are my children. Therefore, I instil clear aspirations and directions from an early age, motivating my children to strive and develop a sense of consciousness and responsibility, understanding that they need to have the ability to earn their authority.
I believe that acquiring knowledge is a fundamental requirement, but learning how to become a good person is the most important. I have three children, and the eldest has finished their studies and started working in the company. I have them start from the basics, learning how to handle even the smallest things, understanding how to interact with others before entering society, or even further, considering inheritance.
First and foremost, they need to learn to avoid the mindset of pursuing wealth as the ultimate goal. I also make it clear to them that if they only had money, they would not be able to work with large corporations. To become their partners, they need to be versatile, meaning they must have a comprehensive understanding of various aspects, including finance, marketing, production, products, and even politics. When I mention politics, it means they need to abide by the law and avoid any wrongdoing. To achieve these things, learning is a crucial factor.
Source: Zing News