Rovio's Angry Birds fall victim to piracy in China
Chinese amusement park’s Angry Birds attraction is shut down over copyright violations
You would not want to tangle with the psychotic birds themselves, but the Finnish game developers Rovio have fallen victims to Chinese product counterfeiters. The company’s runaway hit, the mobile phone game Angry Birds, has now inspired even a Chinese amusement park to launch an attraction based on the game.
The amusement park situated in the city of Changsha reports, however, that the Angry Birds attraction has been shut down due to a copyright infringement. The amusement park lacked the necessary permission to use Rovio’s products.
”We did not wish to break any laws, so we closed the attraction. It is a loss for us, and our visitors will greatly miss the Angry Birds”, explains Mrs. Zuo from the planning department of the amusement park.
The amusement park wanted to make use of the Angry Birds game’s enormous popularity among the young. Zuo hopes that discussions with Rovio will still result in cooperation.
Forged Angry Birds products have also spread to Chinese shops. On Monday, for example, at a Beijing marketplace assorted Angry Birds merchandise such as children’s T-shirts, cuddly toys, piggy banks, slingshots, and iPad covers and cases was on offer in plain sight.
“Of course they are genuine”, a smiling salesperson insisted.
The salesperson was offering for sale a cuddly toy, which, after a quick haggling session, exchanged hands for a price of three euros. According to its labelling, the toy was manufactured by JYS Toys.
A quick phone call to the factory confirms that the article in question is a forgery.
“We do not have a contract of any kind with Angry Birds”, explains the factory’s sales director Mrs. Liu.
“But of course all factories in China can manufacture these toys once they learn the technique. We have not had any problems with the local authorities responsible for supervising copyright matters. Everything goes well so long as the quality of our products is good, and the used materials are not toxic”, Liu says and hangs up the telephone.
Many other Angry Birds products are not even equipped with labels that would indicate who the manufacturer is.
A Chinese online store also has a large selection of various Angry Birds products on offer, including sandals, shoes, and even cakes.
In addition to Rovio, countless other Finnish brands, such as Nokia and Marimekko, have fallen victims of Chinese piracy. In a sense it is a mark of their having "arrived" in the big leagues.
For Rovio, the Chinese market is only just opening up. The company has drawn up ambitious plans as to how to conquer the region: the objective is to see 100 million downloads in China already this year.
Earlier this month, Rovio reported that the total downloads of the Angry Birds game have now reached the 350 million mark. In China, Rovio’s aim is to become the country’s “leading entertainment brand”.
The company also plans to set up its own merchandise outlets in China.
Later this year Finland’s Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb (Nat. Coalition Party) will add some politico-commercial weight to the marketing of the pig-hostile fowl during a visit to Shanghai.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Angry Birds resurface in Rio (23.3.2011)
Skype founder invests in Angry Birds game (11.3.2011)
Be very afraid, pigs - Rovio´s Angry Birds aren´t finished with you yet (9.11.2010)
Kamppi Center hosts battle for Angry Birds title (29.3.2011)
Angry Birds (Wikipedia)