Richard Branson arrives in Vietnam after 47 years

From protesting against the war to speaking to 7,000 Vietnamese entrepreneurs at Summit's signature event.

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Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon as it is still commonly known, saw birth of Summit’s signature event in Vietnam by adding to its impressive line-up of speakers—one of the world’s most famous business icons—Sir Richard Branson.

Over 7,000 entrepreneurs gave a fanatic reception to the English business magnate, investor, author, and founder of the Virgin Group—which controls more than 400 companies, employing over 71,000 people in 35 countries, and arguably one of the world’s most recognised and respected brands with businesses in mobile telephony, travel and transportation, financial services, leisure and entertainment, and health and wellness.

Coincidentally, Richard’s first business venture, at the age of 16, was a magazine called Student.

Launched in 1968, the magazine aims to protest against the Vietnam War and provided youth a platform to highlight the issues they cared about.

16-year-old Richard Branson seen protesting on the streets of London. CREDIT: VIRGIN.COM

Forty-seven years later, Richard flew into a country buzzing with capitalism to help inspire Vietnamese entrepreneurs at the much-anticipated event hosted by Summit.

Known for his preference of casual clothing, both at home and at the workplace, Richard arrives at Quan Khu 7 Stadium in his signature black leather jacket and blue jeans.

On his dislike of ties, he says, "I have been carrying out a lifelong campaign to say bye to the tie. I remain convinced that ties only exist because managers, after spending years being forced to wear ties by their bosses, decides to force the next generation to do the same. I often carry a pair of scissors with me, ready to cut off the tie of any unsuspecting wearer."

Summit CEO and Managing Director, Terence Yao and John Chong were both onsite to receive Richard Branson.

At the conference, Richard discussed on everything from the importance of failure to the values of mentorship, creating a great culture, having fun pursuing innovation, to the excitement of space travel. He describes Virgin Galactic, the world's first commercial spaceline, as "the greatest adventure of all."

The philanthropic entrepreneur is also involved in many causes, including entrepreneurship, exploitation of children, wildlife poaching and trafficking, education and internet access for the poor—plus working with a small group of leaders to solve difficult global conflicts.

Among the topics he shared, he also urged Vietnamese business leaders and influencers to remember their social responsibility, and contribute to humanitarian work.