Rovio's Angry Birds products migrate to Tmall online store
Updated: 2012-02-03 07:32
By Chen Limin (China Daily)
BEIJING - The "angry birds" that fly on many game enthusiasts' mobile phones are now also appearing on a frequently visited online site in China.
Rovio Entertainment Ltd, the maker of the popular game called Angry Birds, opened a store on Tmall.com, China's biggest business-to-consumer website, on Thursday.
It is the first game developer to do so on Tmall, where companies, such as Samsung Electronics Co and Nike Inc, sell to customers.
The Finnish game developer is attempting to further cash in on the Chinese market by selling authentic Angry Birds products rather than simply launching games.
"We want more people to know that we are not only making games, but also a full suite of entertainment services including retail, animated short videos and comics," said Rovio in an e-mail to China Daily.
The launch of its online store is one of the company's attempts to expand from a game developer to a Disney-like entertainment company.
Last month, before the Chinese New Year, the company cooperated with Sina Weibo, the popular Chinese micro-blogging service, to offer free downloads of its short video "Year of the Dragon" and comics.
On its online store, it sells spinoffs ranging from T-shirts to food, including Angry Birds cookies targeting the upcoming Valentine's Day.
With its own online store, Rovio aims to counter the large number of counterfeit Angry Birds spinoffs in China.
An increasing number of mobile-game developers have been trying their luck in China, where the rising popularity of smartphones and tablets have brought greater opportunities.
Australia-based Halfbrick Studios, the maker of another popular game Fruit Ninja, has also launched a new version of the game recently, with Chinese New Year features.
About 30 percent of the downloads of Fruit Ninja in 2011 came from China, where the company generated revenue of $6 million last year, one-fifth of its total revenue for the year, according to CEO Shainiel Deo, during a visit to China in December, according to a report by Sina.com.cn.
In October, Rovio opened an operation in Shanghai, the first branch outside its native Finland, handling research, marketing and sales of Angry Birds-related products.
Nearly 40 million people had downloaded Angry Birds in China, said the company's chief marketing officer Peter Vesterbacka during an interview with China Daily in September.
He predicted at the time that the number would hit 100 million by the end of last year.
Globally, downloads of the game have reached 600 million, according to figures provided by Rovio.
Guo Pengyu, a student in Beijing, said he is considering buying an Angry Birds case for his cell phone from Tmall, even though it is "a little bit pricy".
Tuo Yannan contributed to this story.
(China Daily 02/03/2012 page15)