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Tianjin to Set Up Animation School

Two Japanese companies will team up with a domestic university to set up a school teaching animation and other digital creation amid a growing demand in the country.

The Tianjin Sorun Digital Media school will open this fall at Nankai University in the northern city of Tianjin with capital of 210 million yen (US$1.8 million), the two Japanese companies said.

The school will offer a four-year program letting students learn everything from digital creation to business skills.

Sorun Corp., a Japanese company that consults on information systems, will invest 81 percent of the capital, with Digital Hollywood, a Japanese digital creation school, and Nankai University taking care of 9.5 percent each.

Digital Hollywood will provide instructors from Japan and prepare educational programs modified for Chinese students, while Sorun will take responsibility for the school's management and help students find employment.

Despite growing interest, there are not many places where Chinese people can learn new digital creation skills, a Sorun spokesman said.

"Three parties' interests met as Nankai University was considering expanding their education on digital creation and Digital Hollywood was looking for overseas business expansion," he said.

The three sides are to sign a business agreement later this week, he said.

Domestic television shows about 5,000 hours worth of animation a year, but the government would like to raise it to 16,700 hours and increase domestic-made animation's share to 60 percent from the current 10 percent, Japan's Nihon Keizai Shimbun business newspaper reported.

Animation has been one of Japan's most successful overseas cultural exports. Legendary filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki's latest fantasy, Howl's Moving Castle, topped the Japanese box office last year, grossing nearly 20 billion yen just at home, and is one of three films nominated for best animated feature at next month's Oscars.

(Shenzhen Daily February 16, 2006)

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