VANCOUVER Canada’s Rainmaker Entertainment has sold its animation studio to Beijing-based animation company, Xing Xing Digital, which will take over Rainmaker’s $7 million debt and real estate leases.

The news come on the heels of the previously announced departure of Vancouver-based Rainmaker’s president and executive producer, Catherine Winder.

The studio will be purchased by a subsidiary set up by Xing Xing, Rainmaker Studios Inc. Rainmaker recently produced its first animated pic, the 3D sci-fi comedy, “Escape From Planet Earth” with The Weinstein Company, which is due for release in February. According to chairman Tim McElvaine, Rainmaker Entertainment will retain “the potential to participate in any adjusted gross revenues payable to the producer of ‘Escape from Planet Earth.’ ”

With over 300 CG artists, Xing Xing has worked on numerous international productions, including animated TV series “Fireman Sam,” “Wild Animal Baby Explorers” and “Secret Millionaire’s Club,” in addition to post-production and vfx work for the “Twilight” franchise, “Changeling,” “Angels and Demons” and “Tropic Thunder.”

The move signals an increasing co-operation between China and Vancouver, which has seen a spike in co-productions.

The newly launched China Canada Gateway for Script Competition offers Canadians an opportunity to pitch for up to $15 million in co-production financing with Chinese studios. The initiative is overseen by Whistler Film Festival, Telefilm Canada and the state-run China Film Group.