China may be well known for churning out knock-off goods from designer clothing to electronics – but it doesn’t stop there.
The cloning of world landmarks and even entire villages is common in China – developments aimed at enticing tourists and the wealthy Chinese seeking an alternative lifestyle at home.
In the industrial city of Huizhou, Guangdong Province – about an hour’s drive from Hong Kong – a replica of an Austrian village has just opened to tourists.
“Hallstatt see” is the spitting image of Austria’s lakeside village of Hallstatt, a majestic UNESCO world heritage site and tourist hotspot, also popular year-round with Asian visitors.
The site’s developers – the property arm of industrial giant China Minmetals – say they hope their version of the Alpine village will be just as popular with Chinese tourists and the wealthy who want to buy into the European lifestyle by snapping up property.
China’s Hallstatt is the result of years of undercover work by architects posing as tourists and photographing Austria’s historic village from all angles.
But whether the faux Hallstatt will be as popular as the original, or become a ghost town is yet to be seen.
Construction on the site is set to finish in 2017, according to local media.
China has also reproduced world landmarks on its doorstep.
Around 100 miles north of Shanghai in Huaxi – one of China’s wealthiest villages – seven landmarks from the Sydney Opera House to the Statue of Liberty have been cloned for hard-working residents, who don’t get holidays and work through weekends to sustain their lifestyles.
And Songjiang near Shanghai has become an unlikely setting for a quaint English-themed village known simply as ‘Thames Town’, complete with brick homes, lawns and even red phone booths.
But the town remains largely unoccupied and has instead become a popular setting for wedding photography.
Let us know what you think about China’s newest copycat village below.