Walt Disney Co said it would join an initiative aimed at development of China's animation industry, which comes as the latest push by Hollywood expand its footprint in the world's most populous country.
The agreement that came yesterday would see the Burbank entertainment giant tie-up with an animation arm of China's Ministry of Culture and its largest Internet company, Tencent Holdings Ltd.
The Chinese government has identified animation as a key area for development partly due to the success of DreamWorks Animation's "Kung Fu Panda" franchise and as debate widened within China as to why the country it had failed to leverage its culture as effectively as Hollywood.
Disney's China partnership follows DreamWorks Animation's announcement of a joint venture with Shanghai Media Group, the second-largest media company in China, to establish a family entertainment company that would produce animated and live action movies and TV shows for the Chinese market. That deal was announced last February at the time Chinese vice president Xi Jinping visited Los Angeles.
According to Disney its expertise in areas such as story writing and market research would help China develop local Chinese talent.
"Our philosophy is to operate as the Chinese Walt Disney Company and as such will remain front and center to help local creative talent realize their dreams and help to create one of the most dynamic original animation industry sectors in the world," Stanley Cheung, managing director of Disney China, said in the statement.