Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao is in Bloomberg’s list of 50 people who’ve been business game changers in 2018.
Thao is the first Vietnamese citizen to be named in the Bloomberg list, which highlights key players in all fields, from finance to fashion, media to manufacturing, banking to biotech, politics to philanthropy, entertainment to energy.
The founder and CEO of budget carrier Vietjet Air wants to take on regional giants like Indonesia’s Lion Air and Malaysia’s AirAsia Group Bhd, Bloomberg notes.
The carrier has forecast that the number of passengers it serves this year will rise 40 percent to 24 million, as it begins to tap into Vietnam’s growing middle class by expanding overseas routes.
The expansion further changes the face of Vietnam’s aviation market that has been long dominated by state-owned Vietnam Airlines JSC, as VietJet offers millions of Vietnamese customers who have never flown the chance to buy a cheap ticket, Bloomberg says.
Thao, 48, has extensive experience in doing business in Vietnam and abroad in many fields, including finance, banking, aviation, realestate, and retail.
She launched Vietjet in 2011. The airline now leads the domestic market with a 45 percent share. It operates 385 flights daily within Vietnam and to Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, mainland China, Thailand, Myanmar, and Malaysia.
The carrier made an IPO on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange on February last year, becoming the first airline in Vietnam to list publicly.
Thao also has interests in banking and real estate, which includes owning three beach resorts.
Bloomberg says it comes up with the list by utilizing its worldwide resources, including the work of 2,400 journalists and unique, proprietary data and analytics.
Also on the list this year are Jerome Powell, the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, Amy Hood, chief financial officer at Microsoft Corp, and Ryan Coogler, director of Maverl’s movie Black Panther.
Just last week, Thao was named the 44th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes, up 11 places from last year.
Forbes estimated the richest woman in Vietnam to have a net worth of around $2.6 billion.