The first Angry Birds theme park in Finland. Photo: Courtesy of Lappset Group
"Life is like Angry Birds. When you fail, there will always be laughter from several pigs," a popular Sina Weibo post states. Widely recirculated, this saying is inspired from Angry Birds, a game where players catapult birds from slingshots to smash pigs.
The game, based on the story of birds taking revenge against pigs for stealing their eggs, was developed by Rovio Entertainment in 2009, gaining international acclaim.
Domestically, the number of downloads for the game has exceeded 140 million, making China the second largest market for the Finish company.
Rovio opened its first overseas office in Shanghai this June, aiming to develop the Chinese market. It also plans to open hundreds of retail stores across China, as reported.
Now, it is considering opening theme parks in China, to gain a slice of the Chinese tourism market. But this is a decision that requires careful execution, much like the Angry Birds game itself.
From virtual to reality
Rovio's co-founder reportedly visited Hainan Province earlier this month to research and find a "nest" to build the theme park, reported Hainan Daily. In June, Peter Vesterbacka, the co-founder of the Angry Birds game, announced in Shanghai that the first Angry Birds theme park will be built in Haining, Zhejiang Province.
Rovio has similar plans in Shanghai, Dalian, Chongqing and other cities.
Paul Chen, Rovio's China general manager, told the Global Times that Rovio is talking to interested parties and local governments in China.
"We plan to build many Angry Birds activity parks in China though we do not have a fixed schedule or number yet," Chen said. "We want to bring the Angry Birds experience to fans all over China and all over the world."
With the popularity of Angry Birds, Rovio has expanded its business beyond games to toys, films, books, clothing and theme parks. It built its first Angry Birds theme park in Tampere, Finland last April.
Tero Ylinenpää, executive vice president of Lappset Group, an official licensing partner of Rovio in designing and supplying Angry Birds parks worldwide, told the Global Times that the success of the first Angry Birds park exceeded their expectations.
Sundown Adventureland in the UK will open its Angry Birds Park on August 29, the first Angry Birds Activity Park in the UK. In addition, an indoor park will be constructed in Vuokatti, Finland, opening before the end of the year.
"It's natural that Angry Birds wants to tap into China's theme parks," said Xie Yifeng, an expert in tourism and real estate. "The market is huge, and local governments are supportive."