In the interim the company became VNG and added a host of services vital to Vietnam’s modern economy — payments, streaming, cloud computing — while the speed, stability and stickers of its chat app won over locals.
In the same period, the country signed a bevy of trade deals and its factories moved from shirts and purses to phones and chips. Minh hopes that someday Vietnam will be associated more with tech than war.
“Twenty-five years passed and my generation has not been able to change that impression yet,” he said last August at an event to mark a quarter-century of postwar ties with the U.S.
Charting the next stage of growth for a company so firmly rooted in gaming promises to be a challenge. Khai tries to convey a message about such challenges by taking the staff on treks from Borneo to Siberia.
“Building internet products is similar to climbing a mountain,” Khai said. “It’s usually not very fun [at first] and you are very tired. Sometimes you hate yourself.”
But at the end, “When we look back, we feel very happy.”