Chinese Company Knocks Off Entire Austrian Village

A Chinese metals and mining company has invested nearly 1 billion dollars into replicating an entire Austrian scenic village just an hour away from Huizhou city, in subtropical southern China.

Nestled deep in the breathtaking Northern Limestone Alps, the village of Hallstatt is one of Austria’s most popular tourist attractions. Featuring a rich culture and history dating back to prehistoric times, and gorgeous natural surroundings, this unique piece of heaven draws in hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. Did I say unique? I meant once unique, because Chinese company China Minmetals Corporation has recently completed a replica of the iconic Austrian village in a scenic location, close to the city of Huizhou. The cost of this knock-off project was around $940 million. The Chinese have always been known for their skill in creating knock-offs, from designer clothes to smartphones, and fueled by China’s economic growth, their projects are becoming even more ambitious. They started out by copying iconic landmarks from around the world, then they moved to whole districts inspired by western civilization  and now they’re building replicas of entire settlements. I’m betting they’ll be replicating entire countries pretty soon.

Original Hallstatt (left) and the Chinese replica (right)/Photo: Gizmodo

Most of the people in the original Hallstatt were irritated by their homes being copied in another country, but once they realized the potential marketing benefit of such an endeavor they had a change of heart, and many of them even flew off to Huizhou for the official inauguration. Still, they made it clear they weren’t happy with how the copying was done. Members of Minmetals Land staff were deployed in old Hallstatt, taking pictures and gathering data while mingling with tourists and raising suspicions among locals. No one was ever informed of the company’s plan, until one of the Chinese spilled the beans, by accident. “They should have asked the owners of the hotel and the other buildings if we agree with the idea to rebuild Hallstatt in China, and they did not,” hotel owner Monika Wenger said ahead of the opening ceremony.

Chinese Hallstatt/Photo: BBC

Although it has exact replicas of Hallstatt’s church clock tower, and several private houses, as well as Disney-like photo spots, this Chinese knock-off isn’t nearly as popular as the original.  In 2005 it had only 50 visitors, and while that figure has risen to around 2,500 in recent years, it’s still not even close to the number of people who visit the Austrian settlement every year. Ironically, more Chinese tourists fly to Austria to see the original…

 Chinese Hallstatt/Photo: DPA

 Chinese Hallstatt/Photo: DPA

Original Hallstatt/Photo: chel1395

Sources: Reuters, News24

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