The Walt Disney Co., which is building a theme park in China, said on Tuesday it had joined an initiative to develop Chinese animation productions. The US entertainment giant and the state-backed China Animation Group have launched a project to develop animation content for the Chinese and other markets, Disney said in a statement. Chinese Internet giant Tencent would help market the productions, to be developed for television, film and digital platforms, it said. \"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 the statement. \"We look forward to working with China Animation Group and Tencent in taking Chinese stories to China and the world,\" he said. China Animation Group operates under the government\'s Ministry of Culture. Disney will provide expertise for story writing, screening and market research to create content to an international standard, the statement said. China has been seeking to build up its domestic animation industry with mixed results. While local productions have found an audience, movies such as the successful \"Kung Fu Panda\" series produced by US film giant DreamWorks Animation have sparked soul-searching over why China is not more competitive. DreamWorks Animation itself announced a Chinese joint venture to make films for the domestic market in February, when China\'s Vice President Xi Jinping travelled to Los Angeles while on an official visit to the United States. Disney broke ground on a long-awaited theme park in China\'s commercial hub of Shanghai in April, 2011, which will be its third park in Asia after Tokyo and Hong Kong -- a semi-autonomous region of China. The first-phase of the $3.7 billion Shanghai park is scheduled to open in 2015, the official Shanghai Daily newspaper said.