Captain Nguyen Duc Tai’s boat reduces 8,600 sailors in 2023, first decrease in a decade of growth

In 2019, when the company had a workforce of approximately 45,000 employees, Mr. Nguyen Duc Tai likened Thế Giới Di Động to a ship, with no employees or workers, but only a crew of 45,000 sailors setting sail together to fish and share the rewards. 2023 marks the first time in the past 10 years that the ship has reduced its crew.


The Mobile World Investment Corporation has just released their financial report for Q4/2023. As of December 31, 2023, Mobile World had 65,414 employees, a decrease of nearly 8,600 compared to the end of 2022, and a decrease of more than 14,800 compared to the peak of the third quarter of 2022.

The reduction in personnel in 2023 marks the first time in the past 10 years that Mobile World has cut its workforce.

Specifically, in 2013, Mobile World had nearly 5,500 employees, with 225 stores. By the end of 2022, the company had more than 74,000 people, with more than 5,800 stores, firmly establishing itself as the largest retail chain in the country.

However, Mobile World’s business performance has started to decline, as consumer purchasing power has been significantly affected and decreased compared to before, following the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has had to continuously come up with new strategies to cope with the market, such as the price war at the beginning of 2023, or the massive closure of “parasite” stores at the end of 2023, as described by Mr. Nguyen Duc Tai.

The reduction in personnel can be said to be a decision not easily made for Mr. Nguyen Duc Tai, Chairman of Mobile World, as throughout the journey to becoming the leading retail chain in the country, Mr. Tai has always placed great importance on employees.

In an interview in 2016, Mr. Tai revealed that Mobile World puts customers in the number one position, followed by employees in the number two position. Partners, suppliers, investors… all stand at the number three position.

At an event in 2019, the year when Mobile World experienced the strongest personnel growth, Mr. Tai also likened Mobile World to a boat setting sail: “MWG has no employers and employees. MWG only has a crew of 45,000 people who go out to sea to fish and share the catch together.”

The Chairman of Mobile World confirmed that regardless of their position, all employees want to work honestly and efficiently. Few employees want to work dishonestly. Therefore, in order to achieve sustainable human resource management, it is necessary to create an environment where employees can devote themselves and in return receive a fair income. Mr. Tai’s motto is that everything spent is considered an expense, but there are two expenses that are not considered as such, which are expenses for employees and customers.

The importance of customers is clearly undeniable, as “customers are gods”. And in order to gain customer satisfaction, Mr. Tai wants his employees, who directly serve customers, to have a genuine attitude.

“Customers can clearly feel the difference between a sarcastic smile and a welcoming smile. In order for employees to serve customers wholeheartedly, two factors are needed: money and joy. In which, joy can be built over time, and money is the ESOP shares”, Mr. Tai said.

That is why every year, Mobile World issues ESOP to ensure financial stability for employees, to help employees feel at ease, and focus on taking care of customers and welcoming them with joy. In addition, ESOP helps Mobile World retain talented individuals through a policy of restricting transfers within 4 years.

However, in 2023, due to the extremely difficult business situation, Mobile World did not implement ESOP. This makes investors remember a quote from Mr. Nguyen Duc Tai: “If one day the ESOP policy is not approved, the company’s business efficiency will be affected.”

Furthermore, in 2023, Mobile World repurchased the most treasury shares from employees leaving the company ever.

According to the latest financial results announced, Mobile World ended 2023 with revenue of VND 118,280 billion, a decrease of 11% compared to the previous year and achieving 88% of the target.

After-tax profit was VND 168 billion, a decrease of 96% compared to last year.

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