Day 3: Glass Egg Visit

Today, we started off with a lecture about the Mekong Delta and another language class. Learning the tones and the alphabet yesterday helped a lot in class today, but trying to learn to speak full sentences of Vietnamese without really understanding any of it was still a challenge. In the afternoon, we spoke to the COO of Glass Egg Digital Media. Glass Egg is a 3D computer design company which works with companies like Microsoft, SONY, EA, and Ubisoft. They design the graphics for many popular video games, including almost every major racing game. Their specialty is cars, but within the past few years they’ve done more work with characters and other projects.

Glass Egg currently has four hundred employees with one office, located in Vietnam. The COO shared some of the difficulties and benefits that come with the location. One major drawback he listed was the isolation of Vietnam, and more specifically Glass Egg. When potential clients are looking for somewhere to outsource design to, they often travel to areas like Shanghai or Mumbai. These cities are generally easier to travel to than Ho Chi Minh City. Additionally, the client can meet with many companies in one visit, whereas Glass Egg’s relative lack of local competition means that the client would only meet with one company on their visit. However, although it may be inconvenient for clients to travel to Vietnam, the Glass Egg employees are able to travel almost anywhere in the world in less than fifteen or twenty hours. The COO mentioned that the east coast of the US was the hardest place to get to, but there isn’t much business there anyways. He also boasted that many of Glass Egg’s clients enjoy visiting Vietnam much more than India or China, so that helps attract business. In terms of competition from areas such as North America and Europe, the low salary costs in Vietnam allow Glass Egg to lower their prices for clients.

In the past decade, Glass Egg has seen a lot of discussion about starting up a second office in another location. In particular, Vancouver was one area that was considered. The location would make traveling easier for many clients, since their two biggest markets are in the US and the UK. Glass Egg would also be able to draw talent from Canada and the US that is not available in Vietnam. Despite these benefits, a second location has not yet been developed. Overall, the development and expansion of Glass Egg continue to assist Vietnam’s development as a country. Almost all of their employees are Vietnamese, meaning that the company searches out local art talent and then trains these artists to work with computer software. They have also used their resources to encourage universities to implement more 3D modeling and computer science classes. Since Glass Egg is succeeding in a highly competitive field, their work has helped draw more attention to Vietnam.

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