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Rovio is pushing the offline side of its popular — but sagging — Angry Birds franchise in China, looking to take advantage of the country’s booming obsession with mobile gaming.
The Finnish developer behind the slingshot gaming series is bringing nine “family entertainment centers” to China over the next four years, starting in the eastern Anhui province. The announcement comes just one month after Rovio said it planned to cut up to 130 jobs in Finland as part of its move to “simplify our organization.” But with China’s mobile gaming market expected to grow 93 percent to $2.9 billion in 2014, and hit $7.7 billion by 2018, Rovio is looking east to help reignite its growth.
‘‘China is an extremely important market for us and we’re constantly looking for ways to provide innovative fan experiences by bridging the digital with the physical. Through this partnership, we not only achieve that, but we set a strong foot in one of the worlds fastest growing theme park markets with a key player in the industry,” said Pekka Rantala, chief commercial officer at Rovio Entertainment. “We are delighted at the prospect of bringing Angry Birds closer to our fans in China, in spaces where all members of the family can engage.’’
The attractions are expected to cover a total area of “tens of thousand” of square meters and are a partnership with the Guogou business group, ranked in the top 150 private enterprises in China.
‘‘We are proud of being in a partnership that will drive the entertainment park industry in China with a customer experience not seen before, by extending the popular Angry Birds brand from online to offline interactive experiences.’’ says Qihong Yuan, the chairman of Guogou Group.
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