SpongeBob SquarePants is a financial phenomenon, which doubtlessly makes his corporate parent Viacom (NYSE:VIA) very happy. Now Bikini Bottom's favorite son is about to wash up on yet another international shore.

According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter, the silly sea creature will make his television debut in China at the end of December. He'll be programmed on China Central Television next to fellow Nickelodeon franchises CatDog and The Wild Thornberrys, already up and running in that market.

The article quotes some very impressive stats. Would you believe that the SpongeBob marketing juggernaut has yielded $4 billion worth of retail sales over the last five years? Or that the show has been sold in 170 markets around the world and translated in two dozen languages? The little guy is huge.

MTV Networks essentially has an icon on its corporate hands, one which might eventually enter the league of Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Mickey Mouse. Over the long term, SpongeBob has a great shot to grow nicely and expand his fan base. There's no guarantee that will happen -- tastes can change quickly, especially with kids. But I feel confident about the Jerry Lewis-like ocean oddball, who probably ties up all his available investment funds in pineapple REITs.

The great thing about kids' shows is that the kids eventually grow into adults who become nostalgic for the bygone days of their youth. As new mediums develop, this wave of nostalgia can translate into incremental sales of SpongeBob episodes and collectibles. The first generation passes it on to the next generation, and the cycle continues. That's what occurs with the Disney characters and Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) Looney Tunes.

That's all well and good, you may be saying, but can the sponged one make me money? Well, if you own Viacom stock, you know the answer to that one: a resounding not really. The stock has been in a slump, but with the upcoming split, SpongeBob should be able to affect the shares of newly separate MTV Networks in a more profound way.

For now, SpongeBob continues his quest to conquer the world. China has a lot of viewers, so even if the conversion rate is small, the Nickelodeon brand still stands to gain a lot of luster. Time will tell, but I'd rather be on the side of Mr. SquarePants, Paramount, and the cable networks, as opposed to the broadcast side of things.

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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney. Time Warner is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. The Fool has a disclosure policy .