Disney's Mickey Mouse, Donald and Goofy have been friends with Chinese children for years.
But now the world famous entertainment company is introducing them to some new friends -- The Wiggles.
The Wiggles, a four-member group from Australia, are "children's entertainers that have rewritten the book about how children can be entertained with song and dance."
Sponsored by Disney, The Wiggles will tour Asia and perform at the Century Theatre in Beijing on March 19 and 20, in Hong Kong from March 22 to 24, Shanghai from March 26 to 27 and Singapore from March 29 to 31.
The Wiggles is a unique and dynamic musical group that enchants children with the pure joy of their music and dance.
"The Sydney-based children's group are on more solid ground. With goof-ball grins, a chunky dinosaur named Dorothy and song titles as simple as 'Hot Potato,' The Wiggles' Anthony Field, Murray Cook, Jeff Fatt and Greg Page have struck gold with pre-schoolers," Michael Fitzgerald hailed in Time Magazine.
"It's this very quality, of course, that youngsters, parents and educators love."
The first three members, Field, Cook and Page met while studying early childhood education at Sydney's Macquarie University. They began writing children's songs as one of their music projects.
Later Fatt, who played with Field in the popular 1980's band the Cockroaches, joined in and The Wiggles was born. The first album "The Wiggles" was released in 1991.
The self-titled album has since achieved gold and platinum status and The Wiggles has gone on to become one of the most popular and successful performing acts in Australia.
The well crafted songs, interesting lyrics, humor, characters and simple dialogue all make The Wiggles an Australian success story.
Now The Wiggles have begun to spread across the world stage.
Field feels that much of The Wiggles' success comes from their knowledge of child development.
"A lot of what we do comes from a child's perspective," he says.
"It's got a lot to do with what songs are about and the language we use, and I like to think we know how to write pretty catchy tunes.
"Right from the start we gave a lot of thought to what was appropriate for children's music."
Jon Niermann, president and managing director of Disney's Asia/Pacific Office, said: "Their ability to relate to their young audience and to create songs that are both entertaining and educational has made The Wiggles incredibly popular with both children and their parents.
"Thanks to their unique song-writing ability, their genuine enjoyment of what they do, The Wiggles live shows always have the kids and the adults dancing, clapping and singing in the aisle," Niermann said.
In relation to the China tour, Fatt said: "We don't really know what to expect. Because of the language differences we don't know what kind of response we will get but we go along anyway because we think it will be fun for the kids."
The tour is just Disney's first step of bringing The Wiggles to Asia.
According to Niermann, the localization of The Wiggles will follow. A series of products about The Wiggles such as magazines, video and movies will be made.
(China Daily March 14, 2003)