Hollywood animators set for Dubai

Over two hundred of Hollywood’s top animation experts are moving to Dubai, in an attempt to develop the world’s biggest outsourcing centre for movie animations.

  • E-Mail
By  Anil Bhoyrul Published  October 30, 2005

Over two hundred of Hollywood’s top animation experts are moving to Dubai, in an attempt to develop the world’s biggest outsourcing centre for movie animations. Arabian Business can reveal that IT company Netlink is in talks with several American movie studios, and is finalising the technology required to produce Hollywood-standard animations. As Arabian Business went to press, Netlink founder Akash Arora confirmed: “It is something we have been working on for a long time, and now it looks set to happen. “We will bring in talent from the US for this — we’re talking about Oscar-winning animators — who will relocate to Dubai and be able to produce 3-D animations. These will be of movie quality — so, for example, a lot of the production for a movie like Star Wars could be outsourced.” The first-phase team of animators is expected to top 250, with staff being lured by tax-free salaries and high standards of accommodation, with special “campus style” facilities for their families. Arora explained: “Right now animations can eat up a huge chunk of the movie budget, and are mostly done in Hollywood. Our concept is that ultimately, a large part of a movie like Star Wars can be outsourced to Dubai. It would prove cost effective for the studios, as we will have the technology and the talent. What we want to assemble is the best possible animation talent in the world, here in Dubai. It’s a great environment to live and work in, and we have the capability as such to attract almost anyone in the world.” Hollywood movie giants such as MGM and Paramount are believed to have become increasingly frustrated with their attempts at outsourcing, particularly in China and India, where retention of staff is less than 30% a year. Arora said: “In India, there are now 3000 outsourcing companies. Well, how can you compete with that? You can’t.” The project is being set up in the Dubai Outsource Zone (DOZ), which is being launched next year as a spin-off from Dubai Internet City. DOZ will offer companies 100% tax exemption, and is now actively targeting mid- to high-end IT and business process outsourcing services. Some of the key sectors expected to be covered are finance, accounting, IT, payroll processing, graphic design, engineering, biotech, R&D and design. The Zone will also serve as a centre for disaster recovery facilities for call centres located offshore elsewhere in the world. Arora said: “It is an ambitious project, but as we have seen in Dubai ambitions can be realised if you work hard. We have worked very hard on this and are very confident it will be a success.” Netlink was formed 10 years ago in India, originally developing and selling websites. But in recent years it has grown into one of the region’s leading players in call centre development and management, and is also working on a number of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) projects. Sources suggest that the company is considering a flotation on the DIFX, which could come by 2008. Arora himself said: “That is some time away, but it is definitely something we are thinking of. Right now all of our energy is focused on the animations project, and naturally our success depends on the success of that project." Netlink is also in talks with Bollywood producers, and is examining the prospects of bringing Indian and Arabic movie animators into Dubai. Arora said: “This is a very big and growing industry. The technology is there, and we are looking at all the ways that we can make the most out of it."

Add a Comment

Your display name This field is mandatory

Your e-mail address This field is mandatory (Your e-mail address won't be published)

Security code