Another thing people don't realize is China inflates their ambitions and abilities, and then fails to deliver. A forecast is not the same as an accomplishment, and China has a whole lot to prove here, as well as learning some respect for intellectual property. DWA tried this with Father of the Pride. That studio broke the agreement and then formed Imagi, which became a direct competitor in the feature space with Astro Boy and a few others. Any reason to believe working with the Communist government will work out any better? Will those Communist censors really foster creativity? Last year the Chinese government banned depictions of time travel in the media because they didn't want it brainwashing their citizens and giving them false hope. Can somebody show me China's cultural evolution regarding intellectual property rights? Any reason to believe films won't be pirated directly from the inside? Any reason to believe all the proprietary tools that DWA and HP have developed will actually stay in-house? Here's an idea for DW's next film: "pioneers get arrows, settlers get land"; combined with "fool me once, shame on you... fool me twice..." Ah, but you already know the ending.
Nah, I think the shorts are here because they are short sighted, and primarily don't appreciate the value of this annuity based I/P business. 1 billion is no biggie these days, plus, could be in the form of I/P, or other asset class, as well.
Bigger item to me is that this significantly differentiates DWA from some of the other wannabes in animation. Particularly as Kung Fu Panda succeeds in China (and other movies) this puts them FRONT AND CENTER on Disney's radar as an obstacle to dominance in China that they will have to contend with/acquire.