Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen: Dream to realize

20/10/2021| 13:57

On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Viet Nam and the Philippines (1976-2021), it is impossible not to mention Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen’s merits in the promotion of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.

Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen: Dream to realizeMr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen has made great contributions to the development of Viet Nam - Philippines relations. (Photo: IPPG)

At the 10th National Patriotic Emulation Congress on December 10, 2020 in Ha Noi, thousands of eyes fell on Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen - an overseas Vietnamese businessman – President of Imex Pan-Pacific Group (IPPG) with more than 20 medals and decorations attached in his jacket. It was honor for him to be one of 2,300 typical representatives attending this Congress and was honored to be congratulated and given flowers by National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.

To be awarded those medals and decorations, along with nearly 400 certificates of merit, Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen has continuously done his best for more than 35 years since returning from the Philippines to invest and to do business. He has made great contributions to the construction and development of the country.

Having worked in the Department in charge of Southeast Asia of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for many years and being the former Ambassador of Viet Nam to the Philippines, I have had many opportunities to meet and witness Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen’s activities and contributions to the country.

In my memory, in the early 1980s, due to the U.S. embargo, there were only two air gateways for Viet Nam namely Viet Nam - Bangkok and Viet Nam - Moscow. Therefore, opening more routes was an urgent task of Viet Nam at that time.

With all his relationships with the Presidential Palace and with many initiatives, even at a time his life that liked being “hang by a single hair”, when he entered the Office of the President Ferdinand Marcos to submit to the president the proposal file to open the air route Philippines - Viet Nam on September 4, 1985, he finally could obtain the word “approval” written and signed by the president.

Mr. Tran Tien Vinh, then the Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the Embassy of Viet Nam in the Philippines and Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen told me, friends and the press about this risky moment for many times. Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen himself did not know why President Marcos had signed and approved the proposal.

Therefore, it can be said that the first merit leading to the opening of the air route between the two countries belonged to Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen. This route also marked the beginning of his business and investment in Viet Nam with the establishment of Imex Pan Pacific Import-Export Company Limited (IPP) in 1986 (later renamed as Imex Pan Pacific Group - IPPG).

At the beginning of his business, he faced a lot of difficulties. Gradually, with determination, efforts and with the motto “doing whatever beneficial for the country, I shall try my best to do it”, the IPPG lead by him as its president has more and more grown.

Currently, IPPG has invested over 40 projects by itself or join venture with the total capital of more than 500 million USD, creating more than 30,000 local jobs and paying taxes valued at thousands of billions of VND every year.

IPPG is now a partner of many world famous brands in many fields from fashion and cosmetics such as Burberry, Bally, Ferragamo, Bvlgari, Chanel, Rolex, Cartier, Versace... to food and beverage such as Burgerking, Popeyes Chicken, Domingo’s Pizza…

In addition, IPPG has also cooperated to invest in the construction of duty-free store chains at airports, border gates as well as large trade centers in Viet Nam, including Trang Tien Plaza and especially invested in the management and construction of Cam Ranh international terminal - one of the most beautiful and modern airports in Viet Nam.

Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen: Dream to realizeIPPG President, Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen awarded Vu A Dinh scholarships to students. (Photo: IPPG) 

Apart from business and investment, Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen has also attached great importance to the participation of charity work throughout the provinces and cities of the country, especially in the fields of hunger eradication, poverty reduction, culture and education in remote areas.

Since the beginning of 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted on the business sector in general and on Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen in particular. However, he has continued carrying out charitable activities of the National Fund for Vietnamese Children, Vu A Dinh Scholarship Fund, the Club “For the beloved Hoang Sa - Truong Sa”, the COVID-19 Prevention Fund., Fund for the Poor...

He has also supported the people of the Mekong Delta provinces affected by drought and saltwater intrusion, and helped the people in the Central region affected by natural disasters, typhoons and floods...

Even for the Philippines, he has provided the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Filipino people with 750,000 masks and many valuable medical equipment in the prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic. He has sought the assistance from the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs to help the repatriation of the Vietnamese fishermen and given assistance to promote the import and export of rice for the Vietnamese farmers and Filipinos.

Recently, when talking with me, Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen expressed his great pleasure at the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations this year and as for him also the 35th anniversary of his investment and business in Viet Nam.

He himself also feels proud to have contributed more or less to the construction and defense of the Fatherland as well as to the promotion of relations of friendship and cooperation between Viet Nam and the Philippines. He affirmed that in the near future, the Group would expand its investment in various fields, develop more strongly in the implementation of large projects to contribute to the common prosperity of the country as well as to the promotion of relations of Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and the Philippines.

I believe that with his enthusiasm, effort and heart for the Fatherland, Mr. Johnathan Hanh Nguyen will be able to carry out those projects successfully.

Nguyen Thac Dinh