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Our guest for Episode 12 is Kelly Wong, VP of Operations at VNG, Vietnam’s leading internet and technology and company. Kelly’s entry to VNG in June 2020 has been a welcome surprise, as Vietcetera CEO and Vietnam Innovators host Hao Tran points out. The Canadian-Chinese moved to Vietnam 17 years ago and worked across a range of different industries -- from financial services company HSBC to management consulting HCMC Securities Corporation and food wholesaler Kido Group.
It is through the various roles he’s taken on different companies that allowed Kelly to understand how Vietnam’s business environment works. The knowledge and experience he has built along the way prepared him for this drastic shift from finance to information technology.
As VP of Operations, Kelly’s role involves running the online game department (the key business contributing to the majority of VNG’s sales), bringing about breakthroughs, helping launch new products across many overseas markets, and putting more emphasis on the “human element” in VNG’s business goals.
Milestone after milestone
Since its establishment in 2004, VNG’s growth has been unstoppable, from paving the way for the era of role-play gaming in Vietnam with the groundbreaking success of Vo Lam Truyen Ky to getting valued at $1 billion by World Startup Report, becoming the first unicorn start-up ever founded in the country. It has reached milestone after milestone, as it goes beyond the borders and into the global digital market. Here are some of VNG’s most recent achievements:
- About 5,178 billion VND revenue in 2019
- Becoming the “Leading Publisher in Southeast Asia”, with 11 offices in five countries
- Reaching over 80 million users in 193 country with 15 languages
- Zalo platform reaching more than 100 million users in Vietnam and abroad
- Addition of finance & payment and cloud service
As VNG looks forward to more years of driving Vietnam’s digital technology growth, it aims to continue using technology to empower more Vietnamese. The company has been making venture investments, big and small, to nurture both local and overseas start-up communities.
“What we’re really looking for are really good ideas, really good people who can execute those ideas, and a market in which the idea and the people can grow and flourish. What we’re providing outside of financial capital is really our experience, a different perspective and mentoring,” says Kelly. “Having achieved what we have achieved, we want to give back a little bit. We want to help the incoming wave of new entrepreneurs.”