TOKYO - Japan's Nippon Animation will begin offering episodes of the "Chibi Maruko-chan" anime series on video sites in China about an hour after they are aired in Japan, starting Sunday.
The video, complete with Chinese subtitles, will be available for free through four major online video platforms: Tudou, Youku, Iqiyi and Letv.
The anime has been broadcast or distributed online in some 50 markets, mainly in Asia. In Hong Kong and Taiwan, for example, there is a considerable time lag after the shows are originally aired in Japan. Fans in mainland China, where the show is not officially broadcast or distributed, resort to watching illegally posted videos of episodes recorded from Japanese TV broadcasts.
The show's producers hope to fight piracy by providing official versions quickly.
"Chibi Maruko-chan" is popular in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Overseas sales of related merchandise total about 3 billion yen ($25 million) a year. Nippon Animation aims to lift the figure to 10 billion yen by around fiscal 2017 by boosting the show's popularity in China.
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