Episode 99: Walter Blocker (Vietnam Trade Alliance), Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
YPO member Walter Blocker grew up in Kentucky in the United States and had never visited Asia in his youth. But that changed when he and two friends from Hampden-Sydney College learned the U.S.-Vietnam trade embargo was ending. With that, the group soon decided to take off to the Far East.
As Vietnam transitioned from communism to a free market, Walter and his partners founded the Asia Trade Alliance. They entered into exclusive distribution rights with several large American brands like Maybelline, later growing the company to include brands like Budweiser and Loreal. They tackled the challenge of creating the much-needed web of infrastructure, manufacturing, distribution, and sales channels.
Today, Walter is the Chairman and CEO of the Vietnam Trade Alliance, which has more than 1,000 employees in several countries. He has served on the boards of the American Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam and the Asia Pacific Council of American Chambers. He’s also served on the boards of United Way Vietnam and Operation Smile.
In this episode, Walter shares how he navigated a different culture and a foreign language to open trade with Vietnam in the 1990s.
Made possible with grants from Gazelles Growth Institute.