Featured Profiles

Exclusive Insights from Vietnamese Coffee’s Leading Women Entrepreneur

We had the distinct honor of interviewing Le Hoang Diep Thao, the trailblazing founder and CEO of TNI Corporation – the parent company of Vietnamese coffee titans Trung Nguyen and King Coffee. Since 1996, Madame Diep Thao has been a pioneering force shaping Vietnam’s coffee industry. 

In this exclusive interview, Madame Diep Thao outlines the strategic thinking and values underpinning her global success. 


  1. Can you share the inspiration and vision that led you to become a leader in Vietnam’s coffee industry with our readers?

On the world coffee map, with over 75 coffee-growing countries, Vietnam is ranked second among the world’s largest coffee exporters. In my hometown, coffee isn’t just a beverage; it’s a way of life, a cultural treasure that flows through our veins and ignites our spirits. 

The bold, distinctive flavor of Vietnamese coffee has captured the hearts and palates of millions worldwide, fueling our audacious dream of conquering the world with our liquid gold. As a trailblazing female entrepreneur in the Vietnamese coffee industry, I’ve poured my heart and soul into this mission. In my autobiography, “The Queen of King Coffee,” I bare my journey, offering an intimate glimpse into the triumphs and challenges that have shaped my path. 

With resilience and fierce determination, I’ve dedicated my life to elevating the value and recognition of our exceptional coffee beans on the global stage.


  1. What strategies did you employ to achieve rapid international growth, expanding to 61 countries, and what challenges did you encounter?

Through relentless drive and visionary leadership, I pioneered the growth of a coffee empire, transforming Vietnam’s agricultural landscape. In 1996, my breakout success with Trung Nguyen coffee sparked the third wave of coffee in the local industry, paralleling the rise of global coffee franchises. This milestone marked a cultural shift and catalyzed Vietnam’s ascendance as a coffee superpower.

But I aspired for more. Attending a conference in Germany, I glimpsed the vast potential of instant coffee. Defying naysayers, I remained undeterred, steadfast in my vision to seize this uncharted territory. So I founded G7 instant coffee, which dethroned the industry giant Nescafe within eight short years. This is not only a big milestone on my development path but also evidence that if manufacturers do not consider coffee as a simple raw commodity and know how to take full advantage of the strengths of Vietnamese Robusta coffee, then they will own fragrant coffee products really delicious. G7 etched its name in history as the first Vietnamese coffee brand with truly global reach. 

In 2016, I set my sights even higher, establishing King Coffee to culminate my work into a new, world-leading coffee empire. With an international-first strategy, King Coffee converged of all the quintessence and rapidly affirmed its reputation globally before even launching domestically and continued to be successful.  

  1. Can you elaborate on your leadership philosophy and the principles that guide your decision-making as a leader in the coffee business?

True leadership demands vision, commitment, resilience, and decisiveness. In my book, I distill my leadership philosophy by metaphorizing water’s fluid yet unyielding nature. As an independent businesswoman, I embody this dynamic life force. 

I believe that: “I am my own woman, Le Hoang Diep Thao, independent, self-reliant, and like a stream of water. So that I will surge and flow like a rushing water, never accepting defeat.” Like water carving rivers through persistence alone, I have developed the courage and strategic leadership to shape my destiny. My approach shows feminine wisdom, redefining strength. Through flowing with purpose, I have remained steady in my vision to build something greater.


  1. How do you navigate the diverse global market to ensure Vietnamese coffee stands out and resonates with consumers worldwide?

For over a century, coffee has coursed through Vietnam’s veins, etching itself into the nation’s culture. The journey began in the 1850s when coffee first arrived from France. From that, coffee had emerged as a new beverage, slowly spreading from cities to the countryside, thus became intertwined with Vietnamese lifestyle and customs.

As founder of King Coffee, I want people to know that nearly half the coffee they drink worldwide contains Vietnamese Robusta. I’ve made it my life’s mission to spread Vietnam’s unique coffee culture worldwide. King Coffee draws on our rich culinary heritage to craft diverse coffee products tailored to evolving consumer tastes and wellness trends.

It was an honor to represent Vietnam’s booming coffee industry at Expo 2020 Dubai, one of the world’s premier global events. Our booth allowed King Coffee to highlight Vietnam’s proud Robusta coffee culture and tradition of excellence. Through over 25 years of tireless “change the game”, King Coffee and I have brought The Guinness World Records for Vietnamese Robusta coffee beans in 3 categories: Vietnam was honored as the world’s largest Robusta exporter and productivity; Vietnamese coffee-making culture; The art of mixing and enjoying Vietnamese coffee. This recognition cements Vietnam’s status as a global coffee powerhouse, with King Coffee spearheading the country’s emergence.


  1. How has King Coffee navigated through these challenges, and what lessons have you learned that could benefit other businesses in the F&B industry?

The coffee and F&B industries will continue to grow in all special situations. I believe that spirit is very important. It is necessary to correctly assess situations, risks, and opportunities to determine direction. We cannot change the wind but must turn our sails to adapt and find a way to break through. Therefore, I often say, ‘If you want to overcome a storm, you must fly at a higher level.’

Certainly, I always strive to create products and apply the most optimal solutions to develop strong e-commerce globally, quickly affirming the value and position of the Vietnamese coffee brand on the world map. From there, I continue to shape the coffee industry to a new level, enhancing the value of coffee not only as a common drink but also as a link between coffee and culture for sustainable development.


  1. As a successful businesswoman, what advice would you give to women aspiring to make a mark in the business world, particularly in traditionally male-dominated industries?

As a leader from resilient Vietnam, renowned for its 4,000-year heritage of ingenuity, I penned my memoir “The Queen of King Coffee” to empower youth worldwide.

I aim to inspire strategic thinking, fearless dreaming, and sustainable growth by sharing the trials and triumphs of my entrepreneurial journey. This book is my gift to future leaders who dare to create big, better communities and develop fulfilling careers. My story highlights how vision, persistence, and passion can propel progress even in adversity.

I’m living proof that anyone can succeed with the right mindset. The English edition is now available on Amazon to serve global readers: https://bit.ly/3SZUXA3