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Angry Birds developer relaxed about Chinese copying

Angry Birds developer Peter Vesterbacka is not overly concerned about illegal copying of his brand in China, despite news this week that a theme park in Hunan had erected an unlicensed life-size version of the game.

 Peter Vesterbacka
Peter Vesterbacka Image: YLE

In an interview with YLE’s breakfast television on Friday, Vesterbacka said that there had now been ten million downloads of the game in China, and that the widespread infringement of his intellectual property was a symptom of success.

”We sell all kinds of Angry Birds goods in China. We're one of the top three most copied brands there along with Hello Kitty and Mickey Mouse. That says a lot about the demand for our brand in China. It’s going really well there!" he said.

Some companies might worry about the copying, but Vesterbacka is planning to capitalise on his game’s popularity—as he has in other markets across the world. Rovio entertainment, the company that makes the game, has produced a version of the game based on the Chinese Moon festival, an Angry Birds moon cake and all manner of official Angry Birds merchandise for the Chinese market. For now, Vesterbacka is not too worried about the counterfeiters.

”Of course it’s a problem, but at the moment we don’t have the resources to meet all the demand. We want to build a network of stores, and we also do a lot of design work in China as well as manufacture Angry Birds products there. That’s one reason we opened an Angry Birds office in Shanghai,” Vesterbacka explained.

Stock market float

As part of the expansion strategy, Rovio this week announced plans to float on the stock market. Vesterbacka told YLE that the plan is to raise more resources to ensure the company can grow, and that he preferred the stock market route to a corporate takeover.

The game has attracted plenty of attention from some surprising quarters, including world leaders. In addition to being named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine, he was recently complimented by the president of Finland’s eastern neighbour Russia, Dmitri Medvedev.

”Medvedev’s a big Angry Birds fan,” said Vesterbacka. ”We were at the same event in St. Petersburg in the summer, and he said that his officials play Angry Birds during their free time and when they should be working, and that that was just fine!”

Angry Birds theme park opens in China (with video)

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