Pukeko Pictures has signed a deal with Chinese entertainment group, Guangdong Huawen Century Animation Company. From left, Katie Frost from Film Wellington, Pukeko Pictures creative leader Martin Baynton, chief executive Clive Spink, Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown, Wen Jianfeng, Cui Xuewen, Meng Nan and Wang Bing from Huawen Century.

Wellington-based animation studio Pukeko Pictures has signed a deal with Chinese entertainment group to produce a sister series to The WotWots.

The deal with Guangdong Huawen Century Animation Company will see Sir Richard Taylor’s company develop a show called ‘Kiddets’.

The show will be “the first of many” new shows in China and the company expects to announce work on further shows for the French and the United Kingdom markets.

Pukeko Pictures has signed a development deal with Chinese entertainment group, Guangdong Huawen Century Animation Company, to produce Kiddets, a sister series to Pukeko Pictures hit pre-school animated series, The WotWots.

The WotWots preschool series has been broadcast in more than 90 territories and follows the adventures of two siblings from outer space to explore earth.

Kiddets will feature existing and new characters.

Pukeko Pictures will produce the creative elements of scripts and design in Wellington and the team in China will complete the animation in Beijing.

The TV co-production is being produced under treaty guidelines signed by New Zealand and China last year to explore opportunities to forge closer ties with businesses in the two countries.

The agreement enables approved projects to gain official co-production status and gives production houses access to funding and incentives in line with those for national films in each country.

Pukeko Pictures chief executive Clive Spink said Kiddets would be the first of many business ventures with the Chinese animation company, with more shows in the pipeline.

“It’s good for Wellington and will establish long relationships to create a good job base here.”

The Chinese company had been working with the BBC for some time and produced high quality work.

Taylor’s business relationships in China saw him introduce Pukeko Pictures to the head of the Beijing Film Academy who helped to bring the Kiddets idea to life.

It took about one year of collaboration to develop the idea and grasp an understanding of each business.

It was good timing for the joint venture because the Chinese market was crying out for quality, education-based programmes, Spink said.

Pukeko Pictures creative leader Martin Baynton said it was time to grow and expand the WotWots franchise with an eye on the growing Chinese market.

Guangdong Huawen Century Animation Company chief executive Wang Bing said his company would be building a new animation pipeline to undertake the animation elements of ‘Kiddets’.

Managing director of licensing and distribution for the Chinese company Wen Jianfengsaid in the past year it had successfully introduced the BBC show Waybuloo to little children all over China.

“We want to make Kiddets loved by millions of children in China.”

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown hosted both companies during the start of their negotiations.

“The potential for our two countries in this screen sector has become very evident in the last few years,” she said.

Pukeko Pictures employs about 35 people in Wellington and a full time executive in Los Angeles scouting for potential shows.

The studio works with ITV Studios Global Entertainment in Britain to produce a remake of cult TV show, Thunderbirds Are Go!