An exploration of the African animation industry by the Chinese has commenced in the Nigerian capital city of Abuja, with the first screening of Chinese animation set to hold Saturday in Africa's most populous country.
At least seven Chinese top animation companies are in Nigeria to promote the entertainment brand.
Their mission in Africa is to promote the development of the animation industry, starting with Nigeria which proves to have a huge market potential, representatives of the Chinese animation companies said at a press conference here on Friday.
The screening of the Chinese animation, organized by StarTimes, a Chinese firm which offers a direct-to-home pay-TV service, will open on Saturday as part of the activities marking the Chinese Spring Festival, and to further promote the cultural exchange between China and Nigeria.
StarTimes, which has presence in more than 20 countries in Africa, will, thereafter, broadcast excellent Chinese animated content every day, at primetime, on the StarTimes KungFu channel, according to an official statement.
Huang Jingtian, the marketing director of Huangzhou Minglang Films and TV Production Company Limited, told Xinhua that the desire to make more African kids see the Chinese animation was her firm's top priority in Africa.
"I really think we can work together (with African film producers and directors) and I believe that we can create a lot of animation films together with Nigerian talents, for Nigerian kids," Huang said.
The Chinese animation expert said her visit to Africa for the first time has made her realize that most Nigerian kids would love to have Nigerian characters, and not Disney characters, in animation films.
"I will do my best to make it come true. It cannot be done only by the Chinese part, we can offer the technology and our experience but it will all be about Nigerian historical and adventure stories. We want the kids to have what they will really enjoy," she added.
Noting that culture and values could be passed from one generation to the other through television, Rabiu Adamu, a top management member of the state-run Nigerian Television Authority, the local partner of StarTimes, said the future of the animation industry would be very bright in Nigeria.
According to Adamu, most Nigerian children are exposed to television at a relatively young age, and almost every child is fascinated by video animations, especially cartoons.
"We need more local animated content, and I hope we can collaborate with Chinese partners to achieve this objective. I am pleased with the visit of the Chinese team of animation companies, I hope they will be able to find areas of cooperation with the local producers to improve the quality and quantity of indigenous content for local consumption and for export.
"We are open to discussing various areas of cooperation with the Chinese team for the benefit of both parties," he added.
At an earlier meeting between Nigeria's information and culture minister, Lai Mohammed and the Chinese delegation, the Nigerian official urged the Chinese animation companies to take advantage of the various policies put in place by the Nigerian government, such as a three-year tax holiday for companies that have been classified to enjoy pioneer status, and invest in Nigeria in view of the country's huge population, talent and availability of content.