“The King of Land Fans in the North” Tran Van Le talks about the drinking culture in work: I never drink to get a contract, I have never done that!”

Chốt đơn culture, also known as business deals over drinks, is quite common in many Asian countries, including Vietnam. Some even believe that if you don't drink, you lose 50% of the chance for career advancement. However, there are also successful entrepreneurs who assert that they have never drunk to secure a contract.


Known as the “King of Industrial Fans in the North,” Mr. Tran Van Le – Director of Phuong Linh Mechanical and Trading Production Company Limited is a renowned entrepreneur in the industrial fan manufacturing industry.

In a recent video shared on the CEO Tran Van Le’s official page, which has 39 thousand followers, Phuong Linh’s owner affirmed that throughout his 60 years of life, he has never been intoxicated. This is because he sets a limit and stops drinking at a certain point.

Mr. Le revealed that he doesn’t hold the belief of “being drunk and collapsing on the table is the way to show dedication to each other.” For him, it’s about discipline.

“I maintain and do not change at any cost. I don’t drink to secure contracts, and I have never done that,” Mr. Le emphasized and declared:

Don’t talk about contracts over drinks with me!

In business, although one often has to entertain guests and deals with many business relationships, Phuong Linh’s owner believes that the value of the brand, the value of product quality, and the quality of service are the real enduring values.

CEO Tran Van Le admits he has never used drinking to secure contracts

In the business culture of many East Asian countries, closing deals and establishing business relationships over drinks has long been an important part of transactions. It is not just a place to show affection, hospitality, and generosity, but also a way for business executives to express sincerity and negotiation skills in an informal environment.

In that context, inviting partners for drinks is not just about drinking alcohol and eating, but it is also an opportunity to understand each other better, build trust and goodwill. With alcohol involved, the atmosphere becomes more relaxed, and conversations become more open. This helps strengthen relationships and even resolve any differences or misunderstandings that may arise in the business process.

“In running a business, wanting a contract, wanting to get this or that project without having a relationship…forget it. What is the catalyst for all relationships? Beer and alcohol!”, Mr. Kien, CEO of a privately-owned company specializing in interior decoration in Hanoi, known for having four drinking sessions per week like clockwork, said.

Illustration of a drinking session. Source: internet.

The dark side of these business drinking sessions has caused many health and family problems for those involved. The first common problem is unpredictable health issues. Regularly drinking alcohol at business receptions not only leads to liver and gastric-related diseases but can also cause emotional disorders, affecting sensitivity and work performance.

Mr. Kien looks much older than he should be at the age of nearly 40, having gained a beer belly, experienced severe hair loss, and received numerous doctors’ advice during his recent health check-ups.

In addition to the negative health impacts, emotional consequences are equally significant. The pressure to meet targets, successfully close deals, or secure high-value contracts often forces people to sacrifice time spent with their families and loved ones.

Over time, this can lead to cracks in marital relationships, emotional distance from children, and a decline in family well-being.

Depending on alcohol to connect and communicate in business also creates a “rut,” reinforcing the oral idea that “if you don’t drink, you can’t do business.” Some even believe that “those who don’t know how to drink miss out on 50% chances of promotion in their careers!”

38-year-old Mr. Hung, a Sales Manager at a bank in the Central Highlands, said that he has regularly attended daily drinking sessions for the past ten years, spending a significant portion of his income on alcohol. Mr. Hung estimated that the cumulative cost of these drinking sessions over the years could be equivalent to the value of a Toyota Vios car.

However, instead of drinking hard liquor, he and his partners usually drink beer. Mr. Hung also stated:

“In business, you can’t do anything if you don’t know how to drink.”

Overall, sacrificing health and family happiness to pursue success in business through the “contract closing” drinking culture is quite common in Vietnam. Nevertheless, the sharing from successful entrepreneurs like CEO Tran Van Le also demonstrates that not all paths to success or career advancements have to go through drinking sessions.

Mr. Le founded the Phuong Linh company in 2000. Starting from scratch, after 25 years of development, Phuong Linh has become one of the leading players in the industrial fan and environmental treatment market. Phuong Linh currently operates two large manufacturing plants at the gateways to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, along with four offices in Danang, Hanoi, Vinh, and Ho Chi Minh City.

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