Giles Whitlam is Managing Director and owner of Tonkin Trading, and Tonkin Products. Having spent many years working in Vietnam, conversing and understanding the culture, Giles has developed an ongoing passion about the country and all it has to offer. He is now based in the UK but regularly visits Vietnam to continue to grow the business and explore opportunities working with the excellent teams in the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offices.
Giles lived in Hanoi from 1992-1998, to establish a tea development and export business under his family owned company TEA ESTATE AGENGIES LTD. This led to the opening of the Representative Office in Hanoi, in 1994.
Giles worked closely with producers and the Vietnamese tea industry in general and established new standards, quality control procedures, international bulk packing and palletisation – all for new markets.
Giles then was able to source other agricultural products for export, such as Cassia, Rubber and Pepper. Additionally this led to sourcing ceramic and other handicrafts for export. Giles also found time to set up Hanoi’s first sandwich bar, 'No Noodles' and his restaurant 'The Verandah'.
On returning to live in the UK, Giles set up Tonkin Trading Limited in London in 1999. He added a tea blending division in 2004 and a physical rubber trading division in 2007.
In 2001 Giles set up Tonkin Products, a Partnership with Martin van Zwaneneberg. The aim was to develop unique hand made, high quality food items for export.
In 2012 Giles took on the ownership of a Tea factory in North Vietnam, which is now producing black leaf CTC Tea.