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China Secretly Clones Austrian Village 329

Posted by Soulskill
from the don't-try-it-with-the-swiss dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "A scenic mountain village in Austria called Hallstatt has been copied, down to the statues, by a Chinese developer. Residents of the original Hallstatt attended Saturday's opening in China for the high-end residential project, but were still miffed about how the company did it. '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,' says hotel owner Monika Wenger. People in Hallstatt first learned a year ago of the plan when a Chinese guest at Wenger's hotel who was involved with the project inadvertently spilled the beans. Minmetals staff had been taking photos and gathering data while mingling with tourists, raising suspicions among villagers. The original village is a centuries-old village of 900 and a UNESCO heritage site that survives on tourism. The copycat is a $940 million housing estate that thrives on China's new rich. In a country famous for pirated products, the replica Hallstatt sets a new standard. 'The moment I stepped into here, I felt I was in Europe,' says 22-year-old Zhu Bin, a Huizhou resident. 'The security guards wear nice costumes. All the houses are built in European style.' This isn't the first time a Chinese firm has used a European place as inspiration. The Chinese city of Anting, some 30 kilometers from Shanghai, created a district designed to accommodate 20,000 residents called 'German Town Anting' and in 2005 Chengdu British Town was modeled on the English town of Dorchester."
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China Secretly Clones Austrian Village

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  • by CajunArson (465943) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @08:06PM (#40227243) Journal

    Hallstatt (which loosely translates to "Salt City") is in the Austrian Alps near some (you guessed it) ancient salt mines. Very beautiful country with lots of lakes. Completely random facts: 1. The Celts lived there 4,000 years ago before they migrated to Ireland & Scotland; 2. One of the last US planes that was ever shot down in the European theater in WWII ended up almost perfectly preserved in a lake not too far from Hallstatt and was salvaged by divers a few years ago.

  • Identity issues. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by geekmux (1040042) on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @09:35PM (#40227933)

    Sometimes it really is sad watching one of the oldest countries in the world, once rich and deep with its own unique culture...be reduced to a Xerox machine.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 05, 2012 @10:25PM (#40228261)

    I'm with you. It seems some sort of Anti-China posts are a daily event (choose between piracy or censorship).

    I find it interesting how when China copies something its "piracy", but what about others?
    For example, Paris Las Vegas complete with Eiffel Tower (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paris_Las_Vegas)

    Did they have all the proper approvals?

    "First world" country copies foreign country for tourism = GOOD, developing country copies another country = BAD?

  • by slew (2918) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @01:04AM (#40229187)

    you are correct, But a simply heads up like "hey, we really like your town, we like it so much in fact we are going to replicate it in our country" would have been good enough. I personally dont care or have any issue with it, a builder can build what it wants, where it wants, but a heads up would be nice is all im saying

    Although that might be a reasonable sentiment, who do you give this "heads up" to? It's not like you call up the mayor and say we want to copy your town (as if any good would come of that). I'm sure the Open Office didn't call up Bill Gates and give him a "head-up" they were building an office suite that was compatible with msft-office files. Uhm, that might have been nice (hard to say that with a straight face)... Look what happened to Google when they mentioned to Sun that they might want to license Java (if the terms were right)...

  • by YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @02:53AM (#40229649) Homepage

    They found a way to invite the citizens to the opening, so obviously they managed to contact them fine. Only too late, I agree with gangadude, the developer would have shown some social grace to ask or at least inform these Austrians first.

    But then again, this is not a specific Chinese thing, lack of social grace. And there are also examples of doing it right, like Gaoqiao New Town where they built a new section in Dutch style with cooperation of a dutch architectural bureau.

  • Re:Asian tourists (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Tom (822) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @03:59AM (#40229861) Homepage Journal

    Aside from the funny, the reason they do (according to japanese friends of mine) is that they don't get many holiday days and almost never at the same time, so the often have to travel without their families and the photos are so that they can share their experience with the loved ones at home.

  • by robthebloke (1308483) on Wednesday June 06, 2012 @05:58AM (#40230269)
    I used to work in a university, and one day we had a visit from a chinese delegation (who wanted to start a similar university course back home). They asked a tonne of question, and spent most of the time measuring things. Fast forwards twelve months, and some of the lecturers went to visit the new course. When they got there they found everything had been copied, from the course structure, even down to the spacing of the desks in the cramped windowless rooms (that we considered to be unfit for purpose).

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