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Tencent agrees UK trade deal that includes TV development with the BBC

Chinese internet giant Tencent has signed a cultural creative industries trade deal with the UK that will see it work with the BBC to co-produce and develop content.

Blue Planet II

A memorandum of understanding was signed by Tencent and the Department for International Trade in London today, with the wide-ranging deal to cover various cultural creative initiatives –initially focusing on film and television, high-end art and gaming.

In film and TV, Tencent Penguin Pictures will sign a three-year partnership with the BBC covering co-production, content development, business licensing, and marketing and distribution of documentaries on diverse topics.

This follows the huge success of last year’s nature documentary series Blue Planet II, which the BBC co-produced with Tencent and a number of other partners, including WDR and France Televisions.

In gaming, Tencent will release a British version of its 2017-launched 3D mobile racing game, QQ Speed Mobile Game, and will collaborate with the University of Oxford to create eSports tournaments and courses.

In the fashion space Tencent will partner with the British Fashion Council to design “innovative, digital solutions”. The company said it plans to partner with British fashion designers in a pilot project to integrate AI technology and big data analysis into fashion design.

“We are delighted to enter into collaboration with Tencent, drawing on each other’s strengths to accelerate the growth of the global digital creative industries, in which the UK is a world leader,” said Liam Fox, the UK’s secretary of state for international trade.

“As an international economic department, we are determined to help UK companies to forge new global trading ties that will boost trade, drive growth and provide jobs to every part of the country.”

Tencent senior executive vice-president, Seng Yee Lau, said the memorandum of understanding with the UK is “of great significance”, with openness, partnership, and sharing at a global level, its vision for the current digital era.

“The culture and technology industries in the United Kingdom are well recognised around the world, and we believe that there will be a lot of collaboration opportunities in the future. Imagine a time, not long from now, when the empowering nature of digitisation is available to everyone in the world. What we are doing today is a first step towards making that image a reality.”