Ha Noi – Mai Kieu Lien, 58, CEO and chairwoman of Vinamilk – Viet Nam's largest dairy producer – was the only Vietnamese woman to be named among Asia's 50 Most Powerful Businesswomen by Forbes magazine on Thursday.
Lien said she was totally surprised and happy to hear the news, adding that this was something for all Vietnamese businesswomen to be proud of. She also said it recognised the contribution of businesswomen to Viet Nam's economic development.
According to Forbes magazine, women on the list were chosen for their hands-on management of profit-seeking companies, and many of the honourees had overcome significant barriers to get where they were today.
Lien was born in France and educated in Moscow. In 1976, she returned to Viet Nam and joined Southern Milk&Cafe, Vinamilk's predecessor, helping to modernise the old State dairy collective. She became chairwoman after privatisation in 2003.
Last year, Vinamilk's turnover hit US$1 billion. Its products were exported to 15 countries to fetch a record $130 million. With more than 170,000 retail points set up across the country, Vinamilk's powdered milk now holds a 30 per cent market share, twice that of 2009.
In 2012, the company strives for annual growth of 30 per cent, and it is continuing to diversify its product lines to meet increasing consumer demand.
Under its long-term development strategy, Vinamilk aims to become one of the 50 largest dairy businesses in the world, with $3 billion in turnover in 2017.
In 2010, Vinamilk also received the Forbes Asia's 2010 Best Enterprise award, among the Top 200 best enterprises in Asia.
The new list reflects Asia's remarkable economic rise and the diverse and dynamic ways in which women are gaining power and influence in a region that has become a hotbed for entrepreneurship, investment, corporate expansion and economic opportunity.
Women from China (mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) dominate the list with 21 of the 50 listees. India accounted for eight. Singapore for five, South Korea and Indonesia each accounted for four. Japan saw three women on the list and Australia two. The list also featured one woman each from the Philippines, and Thailand. – VNS.