“You must feel like a Happy Bird in past week in China, right?” I asked Peter Verstabacka, the “Mighty Eagle” of Angry Birds on the stage of GMIC where we were both sitting at the panel The Battle: Marketspace vs. Operating System. He said, “I am happy to be here, but for Angry Birds, we would not say so. In U.S, people 100% can recognize us, but in China, only 30% maybe. We need more!”
Unlike many other foreign companies which are usually “shy” to expose their Chinese strategy when they first come to China, in past one week, Peter were extremely overwhelmed by interviews talking about their local strategy, meetings with potential partners and taking photos with their exciting fans.
Angry birds are flying into China, with an ambitious plan:
- China Office – We have not decided the location yet, but it will be in either Beijing or Shanghai. It will be Rovio’s first office open in oversea market;
- Company Positioning – We are coming to China not as a mobile gaming company, and we are an entertainment company. Our competitors are companies like Disney China, Creative Power Entertaining (the producer of Happy Sheep and Grey Wolf, a very popular animation) etc.
- China team – We have got the first employee in China and we are starting recruitment soon. We are expecting 5-50 people in China office this year.
- Milestones – For this year, we will do 100millions downloads in China, which should not be difficult; in 2012, we want to the leading foreign entertainment company in China beating Disney.
- Partnership – We are open to any partnership in China. In the past week, Peter has visited varied potential partners, such as social network operators, phone manufacturers, toy makers, local app stores, ISPs etc, and he is also patient enough to talk to everyone who approached to learn the new ideas they proposed and suggested. “Yes! We should talk!” Peter did not waste any cool ideas.
- A Chinese Company – Rovio in China will be a Chinese company. We are lucky because our birds are iconic and no need to worry too much about localization. But for sure, we will have Chinese-themed Angry Birds version, using Chinese social media for marketing strategy (Note, Angry Birds has set up its official weibo accounts on Sina with 97141 followers and Tencent with 206833 followers) etc. “We are not American companies…” Peter smiled.
- From Mobile to Social – Popcap is working on local social networks to launch its social games in China. Peter admitted that Rovio will do social games too. He said, we are going to launch our own social games on a few popular international social networks by June, but for China I think we need it a few more months.
Angry or ambitious birds? How successful will Angry Birds be in China, you think? Please do leave you comments!