Several Young Quebecers Working On Developing Video Games In China
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
SHANGHAI (CP) - Several young Quebecers are working for Ubisoft in China to help develop video games in the world's biggest market.
"China appealed to us a lot, as did the Ubisoft project," Ariel Gauthier told Jean Charest on Monday as the Quebec premier continued his trade mission in the Asian country. "In Shanghai, the company was looking for engineers specialized in artificial intelligence to help them. When the opportunity came up, I grabbed it."
Gauthier, who studied at the Universite du Quebec in Montreal, and his colleagues are working on a new video game called Splinter Cell 4, which is expected to be out in the first four months of 2006.
"We're still at the prototype stage but we'll be ready for the launch."
European-based Ubisoft provides the workers with a salary, an apartment and an expense account and also has them take Chinese lessons.
The Quebec workers said they appreciate the income-tax level of 18 per cent in China. They also have to pay taxes to the Quebec and Canadian governments, although that stipulation disappears after they have been out of Canada for more than two years.
Ubisoft has 1,400 employees in Montreal and 600 in Shanghai but Corrine Le Roy, the company's chief in the Asian country, says the Chinese workforce should double by 2010.
"We're hiring 25 new people a month," Le Roy said. "We're getting the best graduates from Chinese universities."
But Martin Tremblay, president of Ubisoft's Montreal division, said there is a glaring dearth of qualified workers at the high end of the video sector.
The original Splinter Cell and Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory - the third installation - were made in Montreal, while the No. 2 Pandora Tomorrow and the as-yet unnamed 4 are Chinese-produced.
Ubisoft has also notched other big-selling video game titles such as the Prince of Persia adventure series and the Ghost Recon squad-based combat series.
Charest, meanwhile, praised the relationship between Ubisoft's units in Montreal and Shanghai as the type he would like to see between Quebec and China.
The premier's trip ends later this week.