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Tencent, the Chinese social-media giant, has struck a deal with Walt Disney to screen the first six films in the “Star Wars” franchise in China.

The move will help create interest and knowledge of the franchise ahead of the release of the seventh episode “StarWars: The Force Awakens” which releases in many territories in December this year. A release date for China has not yet been announced.

Tencent and its streaming-video unit Tencent Video have become major buyers of content from China and abroad as they have become locked in a battle for consumer eyeballs with companies including Sohu, iQIYI and Youku Tudou.

The “Star Wars” deal will allow the company to ramp up its efforts to convert casual viewers into subscribers. It offer the titles free to existing subscribers, while selling individual films at RMB2.5 (US$0.40) to non-members.

Tencent previously signed deals with HBO and National Geographic. Last week the company confirmed that it will launch another film production company, Penguin Pictures.