Sunday, June 19, 2011

China will copy anything as they build Another Replica town, this time a Alpine Village - 19th June 2011

China is building a replica Alpine village in a grimy industrial city.

It hopes the chalets in the southern city of Huizhou will be sought after by homesick Europeans.

The village will be a £5.7billion copy of Hallstatt in Austria, complete with artificial lake. Posing as tourists, the Chinese have been photographing every building there for three years.

The plan was discovered when a Chinese guest at Hallstatt’s hotel left behind a bundle of blueprints.

China already has Chengdu British Town, modelled on Dorchester, and Thames Town, near Shanghai.

Publicly, Hallstatters say they are proud that their village has caught the eye of Minmetals Land Ltd. the real estate development arm of China Minmetals Corp., China's largest metals trader.

With most of them dependent on the hundreds of thousands of tourists who overrun Hallstatt's 900 inhabitants each year, they see the project as good for business.

'We're happy they find it beautiful enough to copy,' says souvenir store owner Ingrid Janu.

Hallstatt Mayor Alexander Scheutz describes the plan as 'a compliment to our village,' while hotel owner Monika Wenger thinks at least some Chinese who have seen the copycat version of Hallstatt will want to visit the original.

But in a deeply traditional part of Austria shielded for centuries from much of the rest of the world by towering mountains and steep valleys, the apparent secrecy surrounding the project has also revived suspicions of outsiders, even though Hallstatt survives only because of the millions of tourist dollars spent here every year. Read More