The Walt Disney Company has formed a partnership with China’s Internet service provider Tencent Inc and China’s state-owned China Animation Group to co-develop original animation content for China and international markets.

In the partnership, Disney will provide its expertise in animated storytelling and market research. The studio will work with China Animation Group and Tencent to distribute the films, TV programmes, online games and other digital products that the partners create. Tencent will take charge of the online marketing of these products.

“Disney’s involvement builds on our expertise and long-term commitment to nurture the local original animation industry,” Andy Bird, chairman of Walt Disney International, said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with China Animation Group and Tencent in taking Chinese stories to China and the world,” he said.

The project marks the first time for Disney to help develop and train local Chinese animation talents. Also, it is the first time for Tencent to step into animation production and distribution.

Tencent, which owns a messaging service provider, online gamer operator and a portal site, has also recently launched an animation online distribution platform: The content created in the partnership will also be distributed on that site.

The partnership also marks another Hollywood company’s venture into the growing market of animation-related content in China.  Earlier in February, DreamWorks Animation announced its joint venture in China with China Media Capital, Shanghai Media Group and Shanghai Alliance Investment.  Statistics show that the Chinese box office takings of animated films in 2011 was almost 100% increased from 2010.

Meanwhile, the first phase of Disney theme park in Shanghai is scheduled to open in 2015.