Thomas the Tank Engine continues to push into new territories, as Hit prepares to launch the property into China.
The popular show will be broadcast on China's national broadcaster CCTV for four series.
The distribution agreement marks Hit's first venture into China. Alongside the CCTV deal, Hit has also appointed the Promotional Partners Group as licensing agent for Thomas & Friends in China. Its first range of consumer products - from Tomy and RC2 - is scheduled for launch in 2009.
In addition to this, Children's Fun Publishing, which is part of the Egmont group, will launch Thomas & Friends publishing in China in early 2009 with 12 TV tie-in story book titles, followed by colouring and activity books, plus Thomas story library books.
"Thomas and Friends is one of the world's most popular and unique properties in the pre-school market today and we are delighted to be bringing the show to Chinese audiences," said Alison Homewood, executive VP for worldwide TV distribution at Hit.
"We're thrilled to be working with our partners in what we see as a long-term strategic partnership. China is an important growth market for Hit and we look forward to making Thomas and Friends a success in this territory."