Sesame Street’s Big Bird Looks at the World” will debut on Shanghai’s tyke-skewed Haha Channel on Dec. 22.

Targeting kids 3-7, show will feature Big Bird, Elmo and a new Muppet character, Lily, a tiger who loves martial arts.

Each of the 52 11-minute episodes, in Mandarin, introduces the inquisitive characters and their young viewers to the world around them.

The educational series is sponsored by the Shanghai Media Group, which owns Haha, plus Merck and Schering-Plough’s health care company MSD.

“Sesame Street: Big Bird Looks at the World” (Zhima jie: da niao kan shijie) will also air on SMG’s Toonmax in 2011 and go into syndication after that.

Big Bird bowed in China in a one-off TV movie in 1983. General Electric sponsored “Sesame Street” on Shanghai TV from 1998-2001.

Sesame Workshop has had a proud history of serving the needs of children in China since 1983,” said Sesame Workshop prexy-CEO Gary E. Knell.

“Toonmax, being committed to building a premier educational preschool brand, and MSD, investing in Chinese children’s growth and well-being, are exceptional partners.”