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Vietnam’s Divmob takes its games global

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As part of our series of interviews with people across Asia-Pacific who use the Internet to create, connect, and grow, we spoke to Ngo Van Luyen, CEO of Divmob, to find out how he grew his small Vietnam-based startup into a company that is now a global name in gaming. From a team of just five people in Ho Chi Minh City just four years ago, DivMob has grown to 40 employees and has over 40 million downloads across its various games, including the popular Epic Heroes War.

Where did inspiration to start Divmob come from?

I was working in France in 2011 when the Android platform was starting to become popular. I began to experiment and play around with building apps, and one of the apps I created went straight to the top of the U.S. downloads chart.

It might have been luck, but this is what inspired me: I saw with my own eyes how a single person like myself, or even a really small, independent company could create something that’s capable of becoming so popular online. It was simply amazing to realize that one seemingly small idea could gain such global reach. I knew when I returned home to Vietnam that there was so much more that could be done, and that’s why I set up Divmob in 2012.

What was your dream for Divmob?

Our goal has always been to have a great team that works together to make products which consumers all around the world will love and share.

What are some of the things that have helped you reach this goal?

Initially, most of our paid downloads were coming from the U.S. and Europe. People in those regions could easily afford the price of around one dollar for games they loved. But in places like Vietnam, a dollar is a lot of money — a dollar can buy you lunch!

When Google Play introduced a way to localize pricing, we were very excited. We’ve always wanted people in developing countries to be able to access our products at prices that work for them.

Through the Google Play Developer Console, developers like us can now easily offer their apps and games at prices that meet the needs of people at different price points in different countries. We had instant success because of this feature. In fact, we saw a 300% growth in daily transactions!

What has your biggest challenge has been?

Building a good team to build great products.

We started with apps for kids, then we branched out into gaming. This was an area we didn’t have much experience in, so we had to learn lessons hard and fast about recruiting the right team to reach that goal. It was tough in the early days as we didn’t have a very established name in the business.

We may have grown a lot since our early days, but our team still works together, eats together and even plays football together: we believe a great team is the best place to start.

What lessons have you learned along the way?

There are two key lessons that have stuck with me the most: work hard and be honest. To me, that’s the key to a successful, sustainable business.

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