The world's largest artificial Christmas tree manufacturer, Boto International, is spending HK$40 million to produce a series of 3D-animated television programmes it hopes to broadcast in Europe next year. Boto is negotiating with a European distributor over licensing rights for the 26-episode programme. It is expected the deal will be finalised by the end of this month. The programme, which is about a war between a princess and robots, will also be distributed in the United States and Southeast Asia. But China and Japan are excluded. 'There is a piracy problem in China and the market in Japan is too large to capture . . . it's hard to negotiate prices in Japan,' corporate development director Terry Tse said yesterday. Mr Tse said the animation would be designed and produced in Hong Kong by Imagi Production, in which an 82.5 per cent stake is held by Boto.Net Solution, a subsidiary of Boto. 'We are confident with the animation . . . we expect it can generate profit starting from next year,' he said. 'Imagi Production will definitely break even in three years.' Apart from producing artificial Christmas trees, the group manufactures leisure furniture to fully utilise production facilities. In the six months to September 30, turnover of leisure furniture rocketed 20.5 per cent to HK$25 million, which made up 3.1 per cent of total turnover.