Start-up recycles used containers for stores targeting young owners, customers

February, 16/2018 - 14:00

Hoàng Tuấn Anh has realised his start-up dream by creating the first shopping and entertaining complexes in HCM City to use recycled containers.

Fun for all: Rubik Zoo is often crowded at night and during weekends. VNS Photo An Phương
Viet Nam News

HCM CITY – Hoàng Tuấn Anh has realised his start-up dream by creating the first shopping and entertaining complexes in HCM City to use recycled containers.

The 32-year-old Tuấn Anh is no stranger to the local start-up industry as he once ran a successful startup on distribution and installation of insulation panels in Australia.

His efficient business approach earned him a stable income and an opportunity to work with an Australian submarine manufacturing port on a contract worth AU$50,000, followed by other significant projects.

After returning to Việt Nam in 2013 and pursuing businesses in trading, real estate and smart locks, Tuấn Anh opened Eco Box in Tân Phú District, a flea market complex with an unusual concept.

“Although the amount of land in the city centre is in short supply, there are cleared sites reserved for future developments that remain untouched, at least for the next three to five years,” he told Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper.

“I’ve come up with an idea to maximise the use of these idle land plots by collecting used containers and redesigning them to make each of them two small stores, and then renting each for three to five million đồng per month,” he added.

For the first few months, half of his stores are provided rent-free to students as a way to support young adults with a passion for startups. 

As a result of Eco Box’s success, Tuấn Anh later opened Rubik Zoo, a shopping, dining and entertaining complex covering 5,000 square metres and housing more than 300 shops in District 1.

“Rubik Zoo is an open, clean,  smart space with many activities. It’s become a hangout spot for me and my friends during the weekend or at night,” Thảo Nguyễn, 22, told Việt Nam News.

Quốc Cường agreed, adding that he loved how each store is decorated with different themes and colours.

“The place is so vibrant and inspiring,” he said.

Tuấn Anh said that similar concepts can be seen in many countries, particular Australia and Thailand.

“There are plenty of projects in Thailand that have built food, fashion, and exhibition halls with used containers at a low cost for young startups,” he said. “I’m glad to provide a space for youth to showcase their talents and promote their products.”

“When it comes to business, it’s necessary to think about the benefits of partners. If I were to invest in traditional shopping and entertaining complexes, I would have to return the land to authorities one day,” Tuấn Anh said.

Since containers are portable and can be moved to different areas, renters are able to secure their property, he explained.

“At Eco Box and Rubik Zoo, we value property protection of clients,” he said.

In addition to the two projects, Tuấn Anh plans to invest US$8 million in more used containers and build 20 hotels, with each having 50 to 100 rooms.

“Hotels and accommodation costs in HCM City are not cheap compared with other countries in the region. Most tourists, especially backpackers, need a safe place at the lowest price to stay during their visit,” he explained.

Tuấn Anh is also looking for temporarily unoccupied land to build boarding houses with used containers for students and factory workers at the lowest possible price.

“Having studied overseas, I understand how rental expenses can put pressure on poor students and workers,” he explained. – VNS

















Varied: Each container at Rubik Zoo is divided into two stores and decorated with different colours and themes.
Waste not, want not: Rubik Zoo, located in HCM City’s District 1, is made of recycled containers. VNS Photo An Phương