After graduating from Hanoi Medical University, Kien turned to tourism business. Recently, he has also been well-known as the “Impresario” of Hanoi Buffaloes basketball.
Unexpected start-up and important milestones.
After 6 years studied in Hanoi Medical University, Kien surprisingly turned to tourism business. He found Buffalo Tours brand in 1994 with a capital of 2000 USD. On the first days of operation, Buffalo Tours was just a small office located on Ma May Street (Hanoi).
After 23 years of development, Buffalo Tours has become one of the leading travel and destination management companies in South East Asia and had a global network of 17 operation offices in 11 countries including Australia, England…”Dare to think, dare to do” – the core values that make up the constant development of Thien Minh Group under the leadership of CEO Tran Trong Kien.
Beside the success of Buffalo Tours, Thien Minh Group has also been known for involving in the hotel mergers and acquisitions in the past 10 years. At present, Thien Minh Group owns Victoria Hotels & Resorts – a five-star hotel chain of French architectural style located in Vietnam and Laos (Luang Prabang); ÊMM Hotels – a 4 star hotel chain located in Saigon, Hoi An and Hue. In addition, Thien Minh Group also owns Hai Au Aviation – a pioneer seaplane service in Vietnam and Cruises operating in Ha Long Bay such as Emeraude, L’Azalee…
In 2017, a cooperation among Gumin Company Limited, Hai Au Aviation and Air Asia establishing a new low cost aircraft in Vietnam shocked the travel industry. It has been said that the JV is going to face to enormous challenges from the two low cost airlines operating successfully in Vietnam including Vietjet Air and Jetstar Pacific. However, with the spirit of “riskily overcome the challenges”, this project is going to be a promising new step in TMG’s sequence of success.
From an entrepreneur to the “Impresario” of a professional basketball team
“Beside family and work, sports takes an important part in my life. It helps feel comfortable and balance health to meet the needs of a CEO’s works. Although I have to travel a lot, I usually spend 7 to 8 hours a week for personal sports and twice per week for team sports. I always encourage people in TMG as well as in my family to practice any certain sport” Kien excitedly shared his passion for sport. That is perhaps why this CEO decided to invest in sport while he has been successful in tourism and hospitality.
Kien immediately recognized the appeal of basketball and decided to join Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) after being inspired by his friend, also his colleague in Fulbright University Vietnam. “The atmosphere of a professional basketball match is different from any other sport. You do not have to wait too long to get a goal. Basketball helps to develop team spirit, discipline as well as height for young people. “
And the establishment of Hanoi Buffaloes
“I found Buffalo Tours when I was 22 years old. “Buffaloes” embodies diligence, patience and good friends of Vietnamese farmers. I found myself in it” Kien explained the meaning of the brand.
Found in July 2016, Hanoi Buffaloes is the first professional basketball team in Hanoi and the sole representative for the North region to join Vietnam Basketball Association (VBA) 2016. The prerequisite criterion of building the team is not victory or reputation but the formation of “team culture”. A family culture with the spirit of “WE DARE “ which formed on the basis of core values “IDARE” that Kien built for Thien Minh Group: Inspiration, Dynamic, Adventure, Responsibility and Excellence. “ We would like Hanoi Buffaloes to spread the passion of basketball in the community of youth; and raise their love and pride while supporting the representative of Hanoi – where they are living”.
The team which has a common vision and target helps develop constantly
VBA 2017 by Jetstar is the third professional competition that Hanoi Buffaloes participated in. After the salute at VBA 2016, Hanoi Buffaloes quickly won the hearts of fans by their discipline and team work spirit.
During the season, all the seats at Nha Thi Dau Bach Khoa have been filled up. Leaving the sadness of stopping in the first round of playoffs in 2016, Hanoi Buffaloes participated in TBSL 2017 – a regional tournament as the sole representative of Vietnam.
The fact that a new “rookie” team had just been established for some months like Hanoi Buffaloes put itself in the ranks of the “big guys” in the race to the championship surprised all those who were watching the TBSL 2017.
Hanoi Buffaloes wrote their own fairy tales in Thailand by defeating the candidate of champion Hi-tech and winning the third prize. “We have learnt a lot from VBA 2016 and TBSL 2017. Hanoi Buffaloes is fortunate to have a very good Coach, Todd Purves and his assistants who have the common visions and targets. We also have a strong team of Vietnamese and Oversea players who respect the long-term goals and core values of the team. “- Kien shared his thoughts on the successes of Hanoi Buffaloes.
Speaking about the goal of the next two years, Kien said he would focus on VBA 2017 and develop more strongly basketball movement in Hanoi particularly and in the North generally. Besides investing in the team, Hanoi Buffaloes’ boss plans to invest more in the stadium infrastructure as well as optimize the business model in the sports field. “We hope this investment will help the Vietnamese basketball community grow, and the country’s basketball level will be on par with the region.
Our desire is to make basketball become the second favourite sport in Vietnam. Hanoi Buffaloes will continue to improve the ranking of Vietnamese basketball in the region and become a place to train young players for Vietnam in the future and inspire youth to practice this kind of sport”.