My third day in Vietnam was off to a great start with a lecture about Urban Planning and Development of Ho Chi Minh City/Architectural Heritage of Vietnam. This lecture was very interesting, because although our main focus of study throughout this trip is the current globalization and development of Vietnam, it is paramount to first fully understand the history and past in order to effectively move forward. Something I enjoyed learning about in the lecture was the topic of smart cities, and the development of infrastructure to support affordable housing, traffic and waste management, education, and other categories. Since the population of Ho Chi Minh City is large and steadily increasing, it is integral to have the aspects of a smart city apparent in order to accommodate for all of the people as well as take care of the environment, and I appreciated the work being done to make Ho Chi Minh City into a “smart” one.
After our lecture, we had our daily Vietnamese language class, which are getting increasingly harder by the day. At around noon, we left for lunch. Each day, we do not know what our advisors have planned for lunch, and as today was no different, I was definitely surprised when we pulled up to a McDonald’s. It was fun to try a chain restaurant like McDonald’s in another country. Once lunch was over, we headed to our tour and presentation about the company Glass Egg Digital Media.
Glass Egg Digital Media is an art developer and art outsourcing company. The company itself consists of 393 people, that range from 3D art designers, to coders, to project managers. Glass Egg has a diverse portfolio, as they have not only done art outsourcing for large corporations like Microsoft and Sony for games like Call of Duty and Need for Speed, but also have done work with nuclear engineering firms, and created 3D models of nuclear power plants. All of the employees at Glass Egg are very talented, and are trained by the company and abroad in order to have the best skills in the industry. Additionally, many of Glass Egg’s clients are international, yet despite this, there are only five foreigner employees within the company, in which the majority of the five are the founders of the company. This is interesting because even though Glass Egg wants to globalize as a company and get as many clients domestically and internationally as they can, Glass Egg hires people from Vietnam, and thus works to build up Vietnam as a country.
Graphic design is very popular, and there are both challenges and benefits that affect Glass Egg as a result of being in this industry. Some of the challenges and benefits can be related to their location. Some challenges as a result of being in Vietnam are that when looking for a company to outsource art, many people do not think of Vietnam. Although Vietnam has come a long way from the decimated war country it was years ago, many aspects of the country have improved significantly, allowing companies like Glass Egg to succeed. Thus, the challenge of being in an unconventional place makes it fairly difficult sometimes for Glass Egg to get their name out and find new clients. However, there are upsides to being in Vietnam as well. One of these upsides is that there is less competition in the area and higher retention rates within the company. Even though there are a few other firms in Vietnam that are in this industry, they are able to maintain a healthy competition, and thus all of them together promote the game industry for the country overall.
Since this is a fairly competitive industry, there are many reasons as to why Glass Egg stands out, and they have plans for expansion in the future as well. For one, Glass Egg has an astounding reputation, and during the presentation, it was mentioned that reputation is the number one deciding factor when clients look to outsource art. Since Glass Egg has done work with multiple game developing companies, their diverse portfolio and client list give them a creditability that very few other companies in Vietnam are able to compete with. Additionally, Glass Egg has high retention rates within the company, which also is a positive aspect when clients are looking to outsource art because the members are experienced, and the client knows that there is a stable team working on their project. In terms for expansion in the future, it was mentioned that although the game industry seems to be moving towards Augmented Reality (AR), it is way too expensive, and Glass Egg will not be looking to do any work with that in the near future.
Overall, being able to tour Glass Egg, walk around their company, and learn about their art was an amazing experience. It was so interesting to learn about the history of the company as well, and made me appreciate how far the company has come. I also appreciated that although Glass Egg wants to succeed as a company, their main focus is to improve the game industry for Vietnam overall, not to simply exploit resources or make money. I cannot wait for the next site visit!