10 years ago, FPT placed the first steps in the United States, marking an important milestone of “FPT’s Going Global” strategy. Overcoming all pitfalls by constant hard work and solidarity, FPT USA (FUSA) has grown into a prominent Vietnam-headquartered technology firm with robust growth. On the occasion of FUSA’s 10-year celebration, join us for the conversation with FUSA CEO Dang Tran Phuong to explore how we thrive in the world’s most challenging market.

– Having joined FPT since 2004, what drove your decision to take a management role in FUSA?

Back in 2014, I received the huge encouragement from FPT’s leaders, which is to come to the United States to build up strategic customer network. Family support also firmed my determination in jumping on the next level of my career path in a country on the other half of the globe. My only “baggage” then was entrepreneurial spirit and intense desire to align personal development with organisational development.

– After all those years, how has the working time at FUSA “shaped” and “steeled” you?
Working in the world’s most competitive market as well as most technologically advanced country requires much self-adaption. Located on the other half of globe, FUSA is FPT’s farthest overseas branch, hence causing issues in timing, resources, accessibility, etc. Under such circumstances and periods of hardship, I myself have to strive to manage and “survive”, aiming towards the biggest driving force – FUSA’s development. Through thick and thin, the current me has developed a “thicker skin”, big gut and inner strength.

– Setting up a business in the USA has never been easy. What are the biggest initial challenges you and other members faced in growing a Vietnam-based technology business in the United States?
Growing business comes with a host of challenges, both rewarding and harsh. The toughest challenge is cultivating people’s positive perception and confidence towards a “made-in-Vietnam” technology brand. Approaching customer is indeed hard, but persuading them that the Vietnamese is capable of technology is even much harder. Additionally, customer diversity, language and cultural barriers, geographically-separated colleagues are among the challenges that we face.

Nonetheless, the greatest opportunities are wide open during the hardest time. Back to the old time, we had to deploy various sales activities and strategies to seek for customers and bag contracts. In order to win the first contract, we had to go through lengthy hardship and tension, which is memorable. Gradually, more high-valued contracts with big customers were signed, reinforcing the belief in a growing FUSA. After hundreds of contracts with major customers, we have well defeated the obstacles as well as proven our competent capabilities and high-quality services.

– Based on your experience, what are the most critical factors for a foreign business like FUSA to beat such challenges and thrive in the world’s most challenging market?
Recognising and overcoming obstacles and problems is essential for FUSA to grow. Persistency is key. We persistently approach customers, persistently deliver solutions, persistently develop company profitability, etc. The other two critical factors are technology and flexibility. This set of factors serves as the foundation to successfully build up FUSA in the past and further accelerate FUSA’s future growth, enhancing our competitiveness over other competitors.

With the aim to enhance our competitive advantage, FUSA’s R&D Center has been established since 2013 to serve many customers in new technologies such as IoT, Cloud, Big Data and Mobility. We also engage with major global technology companies such as General Electric, Siemens, Amazon, Microsoft and IBM to deliver state-of-the-art solutions to customers, strengthening our technology portfolio.

– Throughout 10 years of establishment and development, could you please tell us a success story regarding FUSA’s customer acquisition and expansion?
A decade is not a long journey, but FUSA has made remarkable achievements, contributing to both FPT and FUSA’s development. Up to now, we have established offices in major US cities including Texas, Denver, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley and Renton, developed a multinational workforce of over 300 employees, and provided technology services to nearly 200 global companies in various sectors including aerospace & aviation, healthcare, banking & finance, telecommunication, automotive, etc. After 10 years, our devotion and hard work have been paid off by the recognition from customers, 100 of which are industry giants such as AT&T, UPS, Dupont.

The greatest success is the acquisition of Intellinet, an US-based management consulting and technology services. After 7 months and 160 meetings, both sides have reached a definitive agreement for FPT to become the major shareholder of Intellinet. This great success brings about enormous mental and physical values. We FUSA people burst with joy and feel proud as our continuous endeavour and sacrifice have been recognized. Moreover, joining force with this US top fast growing company will equip FUSA with new “weapons” to enhance expertise, workforce and become one-stop solution provider for Digital Transformation. This partnership enables both companies to deliver end-to-end strategic IT services on a global scale, helping clients to accelerate their Digital Transformation journey.

– Recently, FUSA successfully connected Vietnam Prime Minister with 40 top US corporations like ES Corporation, Walmart, GE Global, AT&T, IBM, PepsiCo, AIG, FedEx, etc., promoting cooperation opportunities. Is making FUSA the bridge connecting Vietnam’s Government and US firms, especially in technology field your ambition?
Precisely. I believe that Vietnam has developed a more positive position, attracting a great deal of foreign investment. This is the right time for Vietnam to join the global technology playground to approach emerging technologies by learning from the giants. Also, as FUSA is the first and only Vietnam-based technology firm to operate in the United States, I put complete trust in FUSA’s acting as Vietnam ICT focal point in Digital Transformation journey, aspiring to make Vietnam’s mark on the global technology map.

– The first decade of development has finished. In many decades ahead, how do you envision FUSA?
I have two visions in developing FUSA. Firstly, FUSA will become FPT’s leading overseas branch in terms of revenue and profit. Secondly, FUSA will realize “the American dream” for the young generation.

This October marks the 10th anniversary of FUSA’s establishment and development. All of us are excited and energetic to embark on the next journey with many turning points yet constrained to encounter upcoming challenges. Our responsibility is to maximize the 10-year-old FUSA’s potential so that it can thrive at its best.

– At the role of FUSA CEO, you must have made significant contributions among which, what do you pride yourself on the most?
I do owe FUSA a debt of gratitude, so no matter how much I contribute is insufficient. Witnessing FUSA’s increasing growth and colleagues’ development align with my effort and contribution are already the best rewards for me.