By Minh Khang – Translated by Uyen Phuong
Kim Dental, Vietnam’s largest private dental care platform, has recently raised US$24 million in a series B round. The investment was led by ABC World Asia, a private equity fund dedicated to investing across Asia, seeded by Temasek. Proceeds from the round, which saw the participation from existing backer Aura Private Equity, will support Kim Dental in expanding the delivery of affordable and reliable oral health services across Vietnam.
Kim Dental owns and operates a fast-growing network of 19 dental clinics across four cities. The clinics provide dental check-ups and treatments as well as more advanced orthodontics, prosthodontics, oral surgery, and implants. Kim Dental employs 120 dentists and dental surgeons, as well as over 600 clinical and operational staff serving over 23,000 patients per month. Kim Dental also operates a dental laboratory to support its clinic network with in-house production of crowns, dentures, and bridges.
Huynh Minh Viet, CFO of Kim Dental said, “With this successful round, we’re now well-positioned to expand our delivery of international quality dental care to the fast-growing communities across the country, thus improving community access and helping to elevate the standards of oral healthcare in Vietnam, so that we achieve more positive overall healthcare outcomes in our country.”
Meanwhile, SK Group is said to be mulling over an investment in Vietnam’s largest pharmacy retail chain, Pharmacity, with an expected value of up to US$90 million, according to Dealstreetasia.
Phamarcity is Vietnam’s largest pharmacy retailer with approximately 500 drugstores. The company has a plan to open its 1,000th store this year.
If the deal is concluded, it would make up SK Group’s second investment in Vietnam’s pharmacy and healthcare market. Last May, SK Investment III, a subsidiary of the Republic of Korea’s third-largest conglomerate SK Group, received 12.32 million shares of Imexpharm Corporation, equivalent to 24.9%.
Michael Han, head of SK Group’s Representative Office in Vietnam said, “There are dozens of industries and companies that we are trying to get to know better here, and healthcare happens to be one of them. It does not necessarily mean that an investment is imminent though.”
However, Han remains upbeat about Vietnam’s healthcare and pharmacy market. Historically, this sector’s growth has been backed by people’s growing concerns about the wellbeing of their family members, environmental factors, rising household income, and the high urbanisation rate – which leads to changes in lifestyles and a higher demand in personal healthcare.
“We believe that the robust growth will continue into the foreseeable future. We have seen a similar trend in the Republic of Korea over the last 20 years or so. In terms of market size, Vietnam is still at the emerging stage, with estimated total value of US$7 billion in 2019, growing at a robust pace of 8% from 2019-2024,” he said.
Meanwhile, a consortium led by Singapore’s state investor GIC Pte. Ltd. has agreed with Vietnam’s largest conglomerate Vingroup to buy a stake in its medical unit, Vinmec, for over US$200 million. However, Vingroup will remain the controlling shareholder of the unit after the deal, Vingroup said in statement last December.
Other funds like Vinacapital and Mekong Capital have seen the prospects of the market and decided to cash in on local healthcare and pharmaceuticals. Last August, VinaCapital invested in Thu Cuc International General Hospital by purchasing a 30% stake for US$26.7 million. In 2019, Mekong Capital also financed pharmacy chain Pharmacity out of its Mekong Enterprise Fund III.
Private equity investments in healthcare are on the rise. Nguyen Thi Vinh Ha, head of advisory at Grant Thornton Vietnam, cited the firm’s survey showing that healthcare is among the most attractive industries for investors, with its growth prospects coming from higher healthcare spending per capita.
“However, the shortage of qualified personnel and inadequate healthcare infrastructure results in a huge supply gap, and the increasing ageing speed of the Vietnamese population will further boost the healthcare demand,” Ha added.
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung has emphasized that the biggest fear of youth is wasting time without learning anything valuable. Young people should get involved, and do what they never thought they could do.
This was the message in a speech given by Mr. Hung at a youth event of the Viettel Group, when he was still Viettel’s General Director. VietNamNet would like to introduce the speech:
Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung.
Today, we are immersed in the atmosphere of Viettel youth, which is an atmosphere of creativity, daring to commit, being unafraid of difficulties, and full of aspirations.
Each of us has only one life to live on and each life has only one passage called youth. Youth is also the time when people have the most opportunities to try their best. Youth in general and Viettel’s young people in particular have in hand the most valuable asset which is time. And many young people in Viettel do not let time pass by meaninglessly. They are brave to engage in things that even they do not think they can do.
Today’s world has changed a lot. The power and the way people use their powers have also been changing day by day and hour by hour. Artificial intelligence, Internet of things, social networks … can make us stronger but can also engulf us at any moment. In the age of Internet, we can easily connect with millions of people but we are losing connection with ourselves, living without purpose, living under popular trends, not knowing what is valuable to us, not knowing what is our true strength. Today’s young generation has a lot of strength but also faces many challenges. That means your generation has a lot of things to do.
Our generation gave birth to Viettel, but the day when we leave Viettel will come. The responsibility today is all with you, with the younger generation Viettel. The wisdom of your generation is the wisdom of Viettel. No one else but you are the future of Viettel, a new Viettel born by you. The future of Viettel depends largely on the younger generation of Viettel today. So I want to talk a little bit about your responsibility.
That responsibility begins with always thinking differently, being more creative, out of old patterns, not dwelling in the experiences that have created today’s success. It is often said that youth is impotent, because youth is the age when one is not shy at all, always doubts everything – except his own ability. But immaturity is a special kind of energy unique to young people. Experienced people are actually living in a box with 6 panels. The bottom panel is all the data they have, the top panel is their belief, the front is what they’ve ever seen, the experience creates the behind panel, the left is all they suppose, and the right panel is all of their knowledge.
All the good people, the experienced people, the older people live in those 6 partitions. The better they are, the harder the partitions can become. The more years there are, the more difficult to break the partitions. But young people don’t have those partitions, they don’t live in that six-sided box. Without a box, without any barriers to hinder you, you will see the universe. When a young person makes an effort towards a goal, it is the strongest, most beautiful posture. In the world, nothing more beautiful can be found than the arduous struggle of youth. Because of that, smart people always wish they could be younger.
That responsibility is also to always have a sense of learning. It is not only about learning specialized knowledge, and not stopping at cultivating foreign language skills in order to be able to integrate into the world. It also doesn’t stop at the fact that we have to forge the habit of reading to absorb new human knowledge. It also means that you have to constantly try, be determined and patient to overcome difficulties.
You will not avoid difficult things or hesitate to try things you have never done, and you will constantly commit to discovering yourself. Today we can work in the engineering industry, tomorrow we can try business. Today we can work at home, tomorrow we go out to foreign markets. Today we have experiences in the field of telecommunications, tomorrow we will immerse ourselves in the field of manufacturing research. New experience is never redundant. Discover new passions, learn new skills, use precious adolescence to prepare yourself and hone the skills needed to pursue a career that you aspire to. And that is why, when we are young, we need to try a lot and rise a lot to explore our very different abilities. Today’s world is a world that offers opportunities for those who are multidisciplinary, multi-knowledgeable and multi-skilled.
That responsibility also means that you stay engaged, take risks and not be afraid of hard work. Do not be disappointed if you are not immediately good at something. For all of us, no one can be good at everything right away. Take each failure as a necessary lesson for success. Only by making commitment and be brave can you do great things in your life.
The menu or the diners? It is the name of a book about the history of Singapore. Deciding to be a dish for the world’s powers to determine your own destiny or to become an equal with them, discussing important issues with them. They have the right to choose. And they chose themselves as diners, and after only 25 years separated from Malaysia, Singapore, from an island nation, became a prosperous country. This question should also be posed by young people. Do we decide whether we will become victims or the cause of all of our problems? Because if we are the victim, we will just cry, but if we understand that we are the cause, we will find a solution to fix it. Do we decide to be employees or do we become an employer? As employees, we will work under the direction of others. As an employer, we know what we want and what we need to do.
Yesterday, I had a talk with Truong Thanh Thuy – who is known as Vietnam’s startup queen – who has stage 4 lung cancer. One year ago, Thuy was full of energy with many plans and ambitions. Thuy and Viettel have coordinated to bring the Hour of code program to Vietnam, so that Vietnamese people can understand that programming is not difficult, that programming language will make our life smarter and more convenient. At the same time, cancer fell on Thuy’s life. Yesterday, I met Thuy. She was thinner, bluer, and her facial skin was ravaged by drugs aimed at controlling painful tumors that are metastasizing to her bones. But her energy is still intact. Thuy said that since the day she has been living with cancer, her life has been more meaningful.
Thuy founded a non-profit organization to help cancer patients in Vietnam. Thuy is striving to create a cancer faculty at an university. Thuy is building software to support the lives of cancer patients. Thuy did not let adversity knock her down. Thuy did not turn herself into a victim of cancer. On the contrary, Thuy considers cancer a second chance of life. And Thuy has found the meaning of her life and the value that she can bring. What could be happier than living your life and seeing yourself worthwhile? And that just needs a little change in your mind, so don’t turn yourself in to a victim to anyone, of anything but yourself. Always be the employer in all your work. Take control of your own life. Don’t entrust it to anyone, but yourself.
To tell this story, I want to tell Viettel young people that adversity is a wonderful thing this life gives us. And as the General Director of the Group, I am working hard to create challenges for Viettel’s youth. Challenges, great goals, and divine aspirations are also adversities for us to explore our abilities.
We can completely see these things from the OCS project, the project to research and manufacture telecommunications network infrastructure, the project to protect customers in cyberspace. We, the young people of Viettel, did it. To reach success, many times you have to face failure and deadlock. But it is the strength of Viettel youth that I mentioned above, that is creativity, daring to venture, not being afraid of difficulties and always being full of aspirations that make impossible projects, at least for Vietnamese people, become a reality.
I love the fable about the butterfly very much. Before becoming a butterfly, a silk moth needs to be strong enough to break out of its cramped cocoon. Someone, because he wanted to help the silk moth, uses his hands to split the cocoon. As a result, he has a handicapped butterfly because its wings are so weak. It turns out that the cocoon is stiff for a reason – it creates an environment for the young butterfly to constantly move, constantly strive so that its wings are sturdy and large enough to be able to fly in the sky when it escapes from the cocoon.
At Viettel, we have determination, aspiration and we even consider it a responsibility to young people to ensure that the silk moth be born healthy. We create challenges, we set high goals, we are picky about our products so that each person can grow up faster, manifest his abilities more clearly. Because I myself and the group leaders always believe that 90% of capacity in each person is still sleeping, which needs something to wake it up. Like the silk moth, without a cocoon thick enough, its wings will not be stiff enough. If the cocoon is not a harsh environment, the silk moth will forever stay in the peaceful nest and never dare to leave. Therefore, Viettel is always proud of having created a harsh enough environment for anyone passing through this organization; when looking back, they will see that they are much more mature. Viettel is contributing to allowing people the opportunity to find their own capabilities, find the purpose of their life.
Because everyone has youth at some point. Therefore, when we have health, have time, have passion, have recklessness, do not let time pass by meaninglessly. Because anything can be regained, but youth cannot be regained. The most valuable asset of youth is time. The greatest fear of youth is wasting time without learning anything valuable. Let’s be brave, be engaged, go ahead, do what you never thought you could do. The magic of youth is not being able to do everything, but always hoping to make everything. The property and money that we have can be lost. Human reputation can also dissipate in an instant. Friends and relatives have to leave us sometimes. Only wisdom will be never lost. It will follow us all our life. It will even last forever if one day we are not in this world anymore.
If you want to change something, tighten the laces and move on. If you’re frustrated with what you have currently, take action now. Express yourself, stick to your goals. You can win sometimes, but sometimes you have to lose. But always remember that what’s worthwhile never comes easy. And failure is also a kind of experience. More than that, it is a good experience. Because it is failure that helps us to be stronger and more mature. A rich youth is a youth with many experiences.
Young people are energetic, have a lot of aspirations, are not afraid of failure, so let’s take difficult jobs, challenges, go ahead, get involved, fight evil, create startups, raise new ideas, give birth to your own baby and if you fall, you can get up. Viettel has dreams, divine aspirations, and the mission of Viettel’s youth is to give birth to a new Viettel, your Viettel, to fulfill those dreams and aspirations.
Nguyen Manh Hung
Inner sanctum: When did you first start dancing?
In middle school, I started doing K-pop dance covers by myself for fun. When I got to high school and was blown away by its dance club’s performance, I auditioned and won a place. I began taking lessons seriously at that time, and am still dancing.
Inner sanctum: And when did your teaching career get underway?
I joined Last Fire Crew as a freshman at university. It was a small, unknown crew back then. I started teaching and performing with the crew as we gained more recognition. I taught for no pay initially and only started earning a year or two into it. During my last two years at university, I realised I had become much more devoted to dancing than to my translation major. But I decided to finish my degree, and then applied to studios for teaching jobs as my main career, as well as dancing and choreographing.
Inner sanctum: What does a typical working week look like?
I’m pretty much free during the daytime. I teach three classes in the evening, which amounts to six times a week. I also teach private classes during the day. In my free time, I do research and study into the art of dance and practise with the crew three times a week. I try to keep my schedule empty on the weekend for performances and competitions, and I’m often invited to be a judge.
Inner sanctum: What do you like about what you do?
Besides getting to do what I love and am passionate about, I get positive energy from my students. Seeing how hard the beginners try, I feel even more motivated to do it well. I also get to meet people from many different walks of life and age groups, who are all happy and excited to learn how to dance. My advanced class choreographed their final performance recently. It really was wonderful.
Inner sanctum: Did you struggle with teaching at first?
Of course. I didn’t have enough knowledge to be teaching back then. At some point, I didn’t know what to teach next, and had a major growth slump. I believe that every teacher needs to constantly update their knowledge. For dance teachers, it’s important to stay abreast of trends, like teaching TikTok moves, which are well received by the younger audience.
Teaching kids was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. I was really stressed out and couldn’t help but scream at them. Then I went to training and workshops and picked up the skills I lacked. It turned out that, with kids, you shouldn’t talk too much — you should just do it and show them.
Inner sanctum: Was it easy to approach hip hop culture despite not living abroad? Why is it important to learn about the culture when learning hip hop?
I only seriously looked into it when I started to teach, so I could give the students some basic knowledge. But self-research is not enough. I attended workshops and sought advice from professional international dancers I met at contests, to deepen my knowledge. Hip hop is an imported culture. It’s not our own. To know it well is to respect other people’s culture.
Inner sanctum: I see that you’re really detailed at giving cues. Is there a reason behind that?
As a student, I liked teachers who taught meticulously. Students sign up for classes so they can dance as well as the teacher. So it’s important to show them how to go about it.
Some teachers aren’t certain of what they are teaching, and come across as lost. But when they know what they’re doing, so will the students.
Inner sanctum: How does it feel to win teacher awards?
I’m actually a very competitive person in everything I do. As it was done by voting, I lobbied all of my students to vote for me. The award is also physical proof of a year of hard work as a teacher.
Inner sanctum: What’s the best thing about the hip hop community in Việt Nam?
I’ve heard that hip hop abroad is divided into many different styles and crews who tend to compete against each other, since it revolves around the “battle” culture.
In Việt Nam, all of the crews are pretty much united and so free to create. Hip hop is also taught in studios, which gives more people the opportunity to learn and practise. VNS