Cultural exchanges between Malaysia and China, with the support of China proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), are entering a new phase with a practical and commercial cooperation, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Minister Gobind Singh Deo said Friday.

Speaking after witnessing the signing ceremony between Malaysian animation company Les’ Copaque Production and China’s Cultural Investment Holdings Co. Ltd (CIH) over the distribution of a Malaysian animated film in China, Gobind said cooperation in the creative industry would benefit both countries.

“I would look at this as an example of how we can explore cooperation which is going to benefit both countries which will also enable us to spread messages and of course films which include local culture, which is something all of us should take full advantage of,” he said.

“Initiatives like this will assist us, will go along way to build relationships between our two countries but also expand our economic relations and to help us understand each other more through film making.”

Gobind added that he would support such initiatives through his ministry and National Film Development Corporation Malaysia in the hope that such cooperation would empower the country’s film making industry to seek a global audience.

First introduced in 2007, Upin and Ipin, a Malaysian animated series, has grown to become a household name in the country and has a large following in neighbouring Indonesia.

The series has been expanded with the production of several feature length films and the latest Upin & Ipin: The Lone Gibbon Kris is the most ambitious of these films with releases planned in Vietnam, Indonesia and China.

The Agreement between the two companies will see Cultural Investment Holdings responsible for dubbing the film into Mandarin for the Chinese market and planned to be screened at 1,000 cinemas in the country.