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Beware, Angry Birds are here as park set to open

By Yang Jian (Shanghai Daily)

10:46, October 29, 2012

SHANGHAI will have more than 10 Angry Birds amusement parks in the next two years, the first of which will open on Wednesday at Tongji University, the top official and co-founder of the popular Finnish smartphone game said yesterday.

The amusement sites will mainly be built within local parks to include activities inspired by the mobile phone game, combining both physical and digital worlds, Peter Vesterbacka, chief marketing officer for Rovio Entertainment told Shanghai Daily in an exclusive interview.

"Each park will be designed differently, with open and easy access to both children and adults," he said. Many of them will be free for the public while there may be entry tickets for larger venues.

The parks will be sited near schools so as to inspire local students to innovate, Vesterbacka said.

Moreover, all the materials used to build the parks will be organic and environmentally friendly, according to Paul Chen, Roivo China general manager.

The city's first Angry Birds amusement park, also the first in China, will open on the campus of Tongji University and will be free. It will feature a studio to encourage local children to design their own versions of the game, Chen said.

The park, jointly designed by students and professors of Tongji University and Aalto University in Finland, will not include the real version of the mobile phone game that can be seen at other amusement parks around the world, but will allow visitors the pleasure of running, jumping and climbing, Chen said.

Rovio opened an Angry Birds brand store in the city in July, the first one outside its home country. The store in Xujiahui area, which sells licensed apparel and iPhone cases, is the first of 25 such outlets scheduled to open in China by the year's end.

Nationwide, Rovio plans to open around 20 Angry Birds parks since China is the second biggest market for Angry Birds, making it vital to Rovio's plans.

Since its debut in 2009, downloads of Angry Birds, including on Apple's iOS and Google's Android platforms, have hit more than 1 billion.

China has contributed almost 150 million downloads of the game that sees multi-colored birds attempt to retrieve their eggs that have been stolen by green pigs.

Vesterbacka said yesterday that the company will launch a new version of the game especially designed for Chinese fans soon.

Rovio will have more than 100 employees in China by the end of 2012, compared with 11 now. The additional staff will be for a new animation program studio in Shanghai and research centers for online games for Chinese users.

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