37 years old, Ho Thanh Tuan has had 12 years stick with Con Dao islands (Ba Ria - Vung Tau province) to bring to the mainland each year more than a million pearls in 3 colors: black, white, light golden. Previously he used to raise pearl oysters in Phu Quoc island (Kien Giang province), but due to frequent travels in different areas so finallyTuan chosed Con Dao as the second homeland and has been allowed by local government to establish a scholarship fund in nameof the heroic girl Vo Thi Sau.
Grown up in the family that father gardening, mother open small grocery store near the market of My Huong commune, My Tu district, Soc Trang province, in high school, Tuan dreamed of becoming IT engineer and conquering information technology. Nourish that passion, he passed the exam into Faculty of Informatics and Telecommunications of HCMC University of Technology. After graduation, he was invited to anInformaticscompany in Saigon and then be promoted to manager with salary of $ 700 a month.
With stable income, Tuan confidently married. His friends thought his life will stick with computer software, because it is his burning dream when he was a student. But fate pushed him to start getting a web design orders of the French team project for pearl oyster farming in some waters of Vietnam. Since this time, Tuan has known much about the magic of molluscs for the valuable pearls,so then, farming pearl oyster soaked deep into his flesh and blood can not give up. Then he was invited by French expert group to cooperate to raise pearl oysters as project leader in Vietnam.
With remuneration equivalent to about one billion dong that the partner given when payback, it took Tuan 3 months to take into consideration, because the owner of company where he is working wants to leave all his business to Tuan. Finally Tuan chose career at sea to find way change his life. From this, more than 100 hectares of seawater surface were leased by Con Dao district authorities, Tuan and his foreign friends rented with preferential prices for 20 years since 2001.
"When I said I would go to Con Dao to raise pearls, my wife and my family strongly opposed because I quit high-paying jobs that suits my expertise to pursue a new career I have not known yet. My friends think I am paranoid and reckless, but I determined to leave, want to have new experiences and live a more interesting life", Tuan shared. The first time to Con Dao he discovered more interesting things than expected when he saw with his own eyes and touched pearloysters.
After the excitement from the mainland, Tuan faced immediately with numerous difficulties due to frequent offshore travel, seasick, nausea and vomiting, burning sun and diving during 6 years. The early days jumping into the ocean, Tuan came ashore with tinnitus sense, nosebleed but he still did not give up.
"Thought that everything is going well, but in 2007 the economic crisis made the French parent company went bankrupt. The experts are cooperating with me abandon halfway through the project to return home, I stay alone with empty hands, lose all capital without receiving any compensation ", Tuan recalled.
Knowing Tuan failed the pearl oyster farming project with French partner, the friends who prevented him before now they don't criticize but encourage him and lend money to help him rebuild his career. Many nights he and his wife hugging each other and crying, worried about the future of their children if Tuan fail again, because the return to Con Dao this time he brought all borrowed funds.
With the energy of a western boy used to holding hoes and planting for home garden, Tuan reviews all experiences of training visits to Japan, France to raise pearl oysters, continue diving and many times crashed into coral reef in middle of sea must crawl ashore with bloody legs.
"Con Dao sea is different from many parts of the world cause we can raise many types of oysters there. This is why from the same source of water I can bring mainland a lot of pearls with different colors, and the most valuable is the yellow one"- Tuan revealed.
Two years away from wife and children, but harvested thousands of first pearls. Tuan moved back to the mainland in the joyful burst of family. A half year later, the amount of pearls Tuan harvested is up to millions and at the time he realizes that if keep selling raw pearls to jewelry store or foreign partners, he can't make much profit. There fore, Tuan continued to raise capital from friends, opened the Royal Pearl Company in District 7 (HCMC) and establish pearls processing factory to making high jewelry, more valuable than raw pearls dozens of times.
To make Vietnam's pearls reach out to the world with a distinct difference, Mr. Tuan didn't stop there, he has sought various way to engraved bronze drum pattern on pearls and then continued to implant into oysters, raising them another year. According to him, if raising longer than this time, the pattern will no longer exist because oysters will secrete more nacre around pearls. With long enough time, floral pattern pearl of brand name "Tuan Pearls" has made him national artist in the field of jewelry, precious stones.
Two years ago, once take his child to dentist for tooth extraction, he took his baby's tooth as a souvenir. He thought about how to preserve it and decided to implant the tooth into oyster then drop into the sea for a half years. The result is extremely unexpected, the tooth is covered with nacre with sparkling golden color. Through this success, Mr. Tuan sent the product together with patent application to Intellectual Property Department (Ministry of Science - Technology) to apply for intellectual patent about Method to create pearls from teeth and Method to create submersible pattern on pearls.
An official of Intellectual Property Department said that both 2 methods of Tuan have been declared as valid applications. The appraisal process shows that these two methods are novelty, haven't been registered yet. "If nothing changes, by the end of this year Tuan will be granted intellectual property rights"- the official said.
From the success of pearl farming, Tuan paid off his debts and earned billions dong profit each year. Having money, he give thanks to his second homeland by scholarship fund named the heroine Vo Thi Sau, help the children of the island have conditions to study, develop the future. About his homeland in Soc Trang province, he organized charity trips and find underprivileged people take them to farm to work or vocational training at pearl processing factory with stable income.
Mr. Nguyen Van Dung, vice president of the People's Committee of Con Dao district said that project for raising pearl oysterof Mr. Tuan was evaluated very feasible, good prospects, contributed to develop local economic and tourism.
"To repay favour, Royal Pearl Company has helped improve local education, awarded VoThiSau scholarship for poor students, creating opportunity for children in difficult circumstances can go to school friends of same age" - the district leader added
The current dream of 37-year- old entrepreneur continues to export pearls to the US as long as expanding business to the European and Asian market, and create suitable products for young people, break backward thinking that "pearls just for seniors."
Source: VNExpress Translated by: Hien Pham Edited by: Thu Phuong