Angry Birds is one of the hottest properties in China, but much of the product available in that nation aren’t officially licensed. Rovio CEO Peter Vesterbacka came on stage at the Disrupt conference in Beijing with non-licensed Angry Birds balloons that he purchased on the street to demonstrate a point.
“There are a lot of Angry Birds products out there, but most of them aren’t officially licensed,” he said. “Angry Birds is now the most copied brand in China, and we get a lot of inspiration from local producers.”
“Right now, we’ve proven that there’s demand, and we’re going for 100 million downloads this year for Angry Birds, and again the same demand for the physical products,” he added. “The way we look at it is, of course we want to sell the officially licensed, good quality products, but at the same time we have to be happy about the fact that the brand is so loved that it is the most copied brand in China.”
“It’s great for us to see the demand, and that’s why we’re building our own stores here,” he noted. “And actually we’re building our first stores here, and not in Helsinki… We hope to have quite a few over the next 12 months. We actually expect to do a lot of services, a lot of products, here first. It’s a different approach to some of our competitors. We want to be more Chinese than the Chinese companies.”
Fast approaching a half-million downloads globally, Vesterbacka bragged that Angry Birds is the “the fastest growing brand ever.” Despite demand for a feature films, he still pegs it as two to three years out, and isn’t sure that theaters will be the right market for it.
“Who knows if they will even hit the theaters, because distribution on the movie side is changing. Right now, we have pretty massive distribution power through our game,” said Vesterbacka. “We probably have more distribution power than any of the Hollywood studios.”